In Loving Memory of
Tonya Gloria Reed Smith Gaston
September 6, 1947 – August 24, 2022
Virtual Memorial Gathering
10:30 AM EDT
TONYA GLORIA REED SMITH-GASTON was born in Baltimore, MD on September 6, 1947 to the late Robert James and Hazel Catherine (Gresham) Reed. She was the oldest of three children born from their union. During the early hours on Wednesday, August 24, 2022, Tonya passed away at the age of 74 after a lengthy illness.
Tonya received her education from the Baltimore City Public Schools System and after graduation in 1964, she received her B.A. in Sociology from Morgan State University in 1968. She received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977. She received her Masters of Divinity in 2009.
On July 17, 1969, she married Robert Winston Smith, Jr. and from their union, they were blessed with one child – Kiersten Reed. Tonya later married Hillary Gaston, Sr. on May 20, 1978. Together, they raised Kiersten and their youngest, Jennifer Kristina.
Tonya was blessed to serve in many positions that allowed her to provide support to people in need, as was her life’s passion. She worked as a Social Worker for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services from 1968 – 1974. Shortly thereafter, she began working in the Baltimore City Health Department’s Mental Health Services first, as a Social Work Assistant and then, as a Senior Medical Social Worker until 1977. From there Tonya became a Program Specialist, Social Worker II for the Maryland Department of Social Services until 1978. Tonya then moved to Fayetteville, NC where she worked as a Social Worker in the Cumberland County Department of Social Services until 1982. From 1982 – 1985 she worked at the Monmouth County, Board of Social Services as Social Work Specialist in Freehold, NJ. This is where she captured the infamous family cat “Christopher.” From 1985 – 1987 Tonya worked at Catholic Charities Rose House in Queens, NY as a Screening Coordinator. She then moved back to Raleigh, NC, her favorite state, where she worked at Dorothea Dix as a Social Worker from 1987-1990. Then she worked at the Roosevelt Hospital (now known as Mt. Sinai West) in Manhattan from 1990 – 1994. Later she worked for UNC Hospitals and Guilford County Department of Social Services in North Carolina from 1998 – 2000. She worked as a Clinical Supervisor at BronxCare (formerly known as Bronx Lebanon) from 1995 – 1998, and again from 2000 – 2019.
Tonya was an avid lover of animals and of nature; She inherited her green thumb from her father. She had a healthy and varied reading appetite: Stephen King and Agatha Christie were her favorite authors. Her dry wit, her classic sense of fashion and endless optimism will be sorely missed.
Tonya is now reunited with her parents, Robert and Hazel, her brother, Tyrone McCall and her sister, Rhonda Norma Carter. She leaves to cherish her memory her daughters – Kiersten (Haneef) and Jennifer; her beloved grandson – Christopher Thomas Gaston-Coltrane; cousins – Kevin, Sr (Denise), Kevin III, and Dishon; nieces – Traci (John), Tonya (Brenden), Nikkia (Harry) and Vicki (George); nephews – Derek and Erik; stepsons – Hillary Jr. and Soliemon (Kamila); stepdaughter – Desiree; bosom buddy, Wanita, as well as a host of other relations and close friends, near and far.
A memorial service will be held virtually on Saturday, September 10th, 2022 at 10:30 AM EDT. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to one of Tonya’s favorite charities:
Alzheimer’s Disease Research – brightfocus.org/adr
American Heart Association – heart.org/honor
ASPCA – aspca.org
Covenant House – convenanthouse.org
Special Olympics – http://www.specialolympics.org