Anne Pepper Bowline Pollack Smith

Published 8:52 am Monday, March 24, 2014

Anne Pepper Bowline Pollack Smith, born in Selma on March 28, 1939, left this world for a better place on March 21, 2014. She passed away peacefully in a hospital near her adopted home of Mary Esther, Florida, after a brief illness. The daughter of W. Bailey Bowline, Jr., and Carolyn Reynolds Pepper Bowline, Anne was a 1957 graduate of Albert G. Parrish High School in Selma. She had an extraordinary and unlikely childhood, having contracted rheumatic fever at age six. She was hospitalized for a full year and was not expected to survive. Instead she thrived, growing up always around the Bowline Pool and the Cloverleaf Creamery, where her father was the manager.

In 1957, shortly after her high school graduation, she married Charles Victor Pollack, who eighteen years earlier had settled in Selma after escaping the Holocaust in his native Austria. Their son Charles Jr was born in 1958, and for years Anne was a full-time mother, though she also worked as a fashion consultant as co-owner of La Mode, in Selma. When Charles Jr was in high school, Anne went to college, first at George C. Wallace Community College in Selma, and then completed her undergraduate degree and teaching credentials at Judson College in Marion, Alabama.

While an English teacher in the Selma City Schools she earned her master’s degree from Auburn University in Montgomery. As a teacher at Westside Junior High, she imbued her students with her love of literature and her passion for proper grammar. Her classic Southern drawl might sometimes lull her students nearly into complaceny, but she never missed an opportunity to teach a fine point of grammar, language, or sentence structure. No one–student or adult–was exempt from her gentle, but direct, grammatical corrections. After teaching she pursued another lifelong passion, cooking and entertaining. She resurrected the Domino Parlor on historic Water Avenue in Selma, turning it into a fine destination dining facility for several years.

Later, she married Milton H. Smith, a retired attorney from Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1986 she moved to Mary Esther to his home on the Florida Intercoastal Waterway. Her job there was quite different from any she’d had in Selma–she was the happy First Mate of their sailing vessel, The Cahaba Belle, which Milton named after her. She loved sailing and cooking fresh seafood and watching tugboats and barges go past her kitchen window on the waterway. They loved to travel by train in the US and in Mexico, where their favorite trip was through the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua. She regularly held court with and entertained a large group of friends and fellow sailors, along with occasional visitors from Selma. Her keen intelligence, incisive wit, and feisty attitude were legendary even as they were slowly dulled by the advancing years. She endured with grace and dignity a multitude of surgeries aimed at preserving the joint and spinal function that had been taken from her by her rheumatic disease and the daily x-rays she underwent for a year in 1945-6.

She adored her son and her grandchildren–Kurt, Bailey, and Carolina Anne Pollack, Thomas Slaught, and Emily Anne Pollack, who all live in Pennsylvania. She is also survived by two brothers, Bailey Bowline III of Marietta, Georgia, and Joe Bowline of Port St Joe, Florida, and by several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her beloved parents, next to whom she will be interred, by her husband Milton Smith, and by her oldest brother, Carl Bowline.

Graveside services will be held at Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, two days before her seventy-fifth birthday, at 1pm with Lawrence Brown-Service directing.

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