October 31, 1954 – December 16, 2020
Vincent Smith was born on October 31, 1954 to parents, Cardieta Bryan and Cleveland Smith in St. Mary, Jamaica, West Indies. “Vinny” as he was lovingly referred to by family and friends, was the first child born to both his parents. Vinny attended primary and secondary school in St. Mary Jamaica, and graduated from high school there as well. Vinny loved to cook and entertain. While growing up with his grandmother in Jamaica, he would sit and intensely watch her make a variety of Jamaican dishes. This was the very beginning of his love for cooking. Vinny migrated to the United States in 1977. When he first came to the United States he lived in Cambria Heights, New York with his mother, stepfather, and siblings. While in New York he reconnected with his long-time girlfriend from back home. After about seven years of dating, he married his “Brownin g”, Rose on October 31, 1981. On August 22, 1983, Rose gave birth to their only child, Christine, or “Stinky” as Vinny affectionately called her. When Vinny first came to the United States, he landed his first job doing what he loved. He worked as a cook at Booth Memorial Hospital for about 10 years, eventually getting promoted to head chef. In 1988, Vinny, his brother and his friends became business partners and opened up his first business, “La Best” Restaurant and Nightclub located in Queens, New York. Vinny continued to work at Booth and run La Best simultaneously. In 1992, Vinny left Booth Memorial Hospital to pursue his everlasting dream of being an entrepreneur full-time. Vinny lived his dream of running his own business. La Best hosted many weddings, catering events, fashion, stage and music shows, and was known as Queens’ hot spot. In 1996, Vinny moved to Lehigh Acres, Florida to pursue other business ventures. When first moving to Florida, Vinny worked as a salesman for cold storage products. After a few years he met his business partner Raymond Wint and they went on to open Vinny G’s Restaurant and Fish market in Fort Myers, Florida. Vinny G’s served fine Caribbean cuisine and sold the freshest catches. People would come from near and far to taste Vinny’s cooking, especially his jerk chicken and pork, made in his “special” homemade jerk sauce. Vinny then went on to open La Best Bar and Grill in Fort Myers, Florida. La Best Bar and Grill was one the “it” spots in Fort Myers. La Best hosted numerous events including musical performances, parties, comedy shows and open mic nights. La Best Bar and Grill was well known for its’ open mic nights because it gave up and coming artist a chance to show case their talent. It was also the place to be on any given Friday or Saturday night, for its Reggae, Caribbean or Hip-Hop parties. Vinny was a loving father, husband, devoted grandfather, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, best friend and partner. He was always looking for the next big thing: whether it was opening the next finger-licking restaurant, selling food products or groceries, or finding a way to bring a smile to peoples’ faces through food, he was an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. When he wasn’t cooking, Vinny enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, fishing, catering different events, sharing his cooking tips with others, and playing dominos. Vinny was a proud member of the Cavaliers Domino Club in Lehigh Acres, Florida. The members of the domino club became like Vinny’s family. Vinny would play domino tournaments all throughout Florida. He won many tournaments with the Cavaliers, bringing home many trophies to the club. Vinny was a person you could always count on. He would be the person that always gave you two or three phone calls a day just to check on you. If it were an important event you could count on him to be there for you and to show up with food. We will miss his smile, food, calls, and love. Anyone who knew Vinny, knew that he went by many names: grand-papa, daddy, Uncle, or Quadro. Those who knew him knew that he loved his family very, very much. We have truly lost a spectacular person that was taken from us far too soon. Vinny was predeceased by his mother Carideta Bryan, his father Cleveland Smith, Brothers Steven Bryan and Gilbert Bryan, and sister Alicia Smith. He is survived by his wife, Rose Smith; daughter Christine McKeithan; son-in-law Glenn McKeithan, grandchildren Carter and Victoria McKeithan; brothers, Keith Johnson, Kenneth “Paul” Smith, Leighton Smith and Errol Smith; sisters, Paulette Bryce, Jennifer Johnson, and Claudette Bryan; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and dear friends too numerous to mention but mourned by all.
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Hodges Funeral Home at Lee Memorial Park
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Lee Memorial Park Cemetery