Fred W. SmithPebble Beach, CA, 1934 - 2018 0comment
Fred W. Smith, 84, passed away April 29, 2018 at UCLA Medical Center surrounded by his family after a long illness. Fred was born January 1, 1934 in the Peno Bottoms of Oklahoma near Fort Smith, Arkansas. He attended school in Fort Smith and following his high school graduation spent a short stint with the FBI in Washington D.C. He returned to Fort Smith where he attended Fort Smith Junior College and started his career in the newspaper business at the local Donrey newspaper as a classified advertising salesman. During his 43-year career at Donrey Media Group, Smith worked his way through the ranks to become President and COO and CEO of one of the nation's largest privately held media companies. Donald W. Reynolds promoted Fred to General Manager of the Las Vegas Review Journal in 1960 and moved him to Las Vegas. Shortly after the move, Fred sent for his fiancé Mary Moore to join him in Las Vegas and the couple were married on March 4, 1961. According to Fred, Mr. Reynolds gave him the weekend off, so the couple could spend their honeymoon in Death Valley. Between 1962-65 the couple had three children; Wes, Debby and Jon Paul. In 1966, Reynolds named Fred Vice President of Donrey's Western Newspaper Division where he played a major role in the expansion of Donrey into the newspaper business in California. The ‘60s and ‘70s were a time of great growth for the Donrey Media Group. As the company grew so did Fred's responsibilities. In 1973, Fred was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Donrey. In 1990, Reynolds announced his retirement from the company and named Fred the President and CEO of the Donrey Media Group. In 1993, Donald W. Reynolds passed away and Donrey was sold. Fred continued to run the company during the transition of ownership and stayed on for a year after the sale closed. In 1994, Fred retired to concentrate his time and efforts on the development of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and to oversee the operations of the family business, Peno Bottom Partners. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation received a substantial bequest from the estate of Donald W. Reynolds making it one of the 50 largest private foundations in the country. While his professional and business successes were significant, Fred's most lasting legacy might well be his accomplishments as chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Under Fred's leadership from 1994 until its close in 2017, the Foundation contributed over $1.85 billion to programs, institutions and nonprofit organizations across the country. To honor Fred's leadership the Foundation's trustees approved grants that resulted in numerous buildings being named for him. The Foundation's largest single grant helped establish the Fred W. and Mary B. Smith Center for the Performing Arts (The Smith Center) in Las Vegas. In addition, the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, Virginia; the Smith-Pendergraft Student Center at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, and the Fred W. Smith Conference Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences all bear his name. A lifelong Arkansas Razorback supporter and fan, Fred was especially proud of the Fred W. Smith Football Center at the University of Arkansas. Throughout his career at Donrey, Fred was a leader in and an active member of the Las Vegas community. He served on the boards of numerous charitable and civic organizations including Salvation Army, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Southern Nevada Industrial Foundation, Boulder Dam Area Council Boy Scouts of America, United Fund of Southern Nevada, Nevada Tax Association, First Interstate Bank of Nevada, Sierra Pacific Power Company and University of Nevada Las Vegas Foundation. Smith also made time to serve on boards beyond those in Las Vegas including; Alltel Corporation, TCA Cable TV, Inc., the board of trustees of the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, the advisory board for the First Commercial Bank in Little Rock, Arkansas and Safefoods, Inc. In 1993, Fred was named Distinguished Nevadan of the Year and was honored with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the Board of Regents of UNLV. In addition, Fred received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Harding University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. After 49 years of marriage Fred's beloved wife, Mary, passed away in 2010. In 2016 Fred married Maria Hearley and at the time of his death the couple made their home in Pebble Beach, California. In addition to his wife Mary, Fred was preceded in death by his mother Erma Wells and his stepfather Paul Wells. He is survived by his wife Maria Hearley-Smith, three children; Fred Wesley Smith, Jr. (Stacie), Deborah Smith-Magness, Dr. Jonathan P. Smith (Amy), four grandchildren, a stepdaughter and three step grandchildren. Services will be at Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Palm Eastern Mortuary and Cemetery, 7600 S. Eastern Ave. Las Vegas, Nev., 89123. Following services at Palm Mortuary and a private family burial, the family will receive guests at a reception at The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas, Nev., 89106. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Salvation Army. To sign the online guest book please visit www.dignitymemorialpremier.com/palm-eastern-mortuary-and-cemetery/.
Published May 6, 2018