Audrey Smith, the founder of Friends and Families of Murdered Children, passed away Wednesday, at the age of 81.
Following the death of one of Smith’s sons in 1990, she began the group in 1991, in an effort to help console victims of gun violence.
Smith had reportedly been ever-present at vigils and anti-gun violence protests, and even garnered funding from the city for the organization in 1992.
She used the grant to help provide services to a greater number of people through the organization, which she then began to operate as a part of the Rochester Urban League.
Former Rochester Mayor, Police Chief, and friend to Smith, Robert Duffy has released the following statement regarding Smith’s passing:
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Audrey Smith, founder of Friends and Families of Murdered Children and Victims of Violence. Audrey provided comfort, support, hope, and a voice for countless families of murder victims. A true angel, she committed her life to telling the story behind, and bringing a face to every death of a young person in Rochester.”
“As our work brought us closer, Audrey became like a second mother to me. I put Audrey Smith on par with any leader our city has ever seen. Rochester has truly lost a great one. My most sincere condolences go out to her family, and extended family of friends, and those she positively impacted.”
Two of Smith’s and her late husband’s seven children are now deceased; she is survived by nine siblings, and 28 grandchildren, according to relatives.