Jane Harrington-Smith, who blazed trails as an African American reporter at WXII in the 1970s, passed away on Friday, Feb. 15. The Winston-Salem native was 61.
Harrington-Smith joined WXII in the mid-’70s, after earning a degree in journalism from Fisk University. She eventually became the station’s weekend anchor and co-host (with Billy Rich) of “Shades of Ebony.” She left WXII in the early 1980s to take a job at WTHR Channel 13 in Indianapolis, Ind., where she was the lead reporter on many stories, including Mike Tyson’s 1992 rape trial in Indianapolis. Harrington-Smith left WTHR in 1998 but continued to live in Indiana; she died in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers.
“Jane always had the knack for uncovering unusual stories. She shied away from official sound bites and always seemed to find the people angle of any story. Jane would even call in stories long after she had left WTHR from contacts that she stayed in touch with,” Bob Weinzierl, chief photographer at WTHR, said in a statement on the station’s web site.
Her parents, Alton and Janie Harrington preceded her in death. She’s survived by her husband of 21 years, David M. Smith; daughter, Beverly (Jonathan D.) Oxley of Sterling, Va.; sister, Artelia (William) Walker of Plainfield, Ind.; grandson, Ryce M. Oxley; special cousins, William and Elaine Buie of Greesboro; and three lifelong friends since kindergarten, Awilda Gilliam Neal, Willardean Jordan Dula, and Adrienne Smith, all of Winston-Salem.
Harrington-Smith’s funeral was held on Feb. 20, 2013 at Greater Grace Apostolic Church in Muncie, Ind. She is buried at Gardens of Memory Cemetery, also in Muncie.