WILMINGTON — Jerome Robert “Jerry” Smith, 69, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, following complications from heart surgery.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Debbie; sons and daughters-in-law, Howard and Emily of Bethesda, Maryland, and Richard and Alex of Needham, Massachusetts. Jerry had three grandchildren who were the light of his life, Landon (2), Ruby (1) and Maeve, who was born Dec. 1, 2020.
Jerry was born Nov. 18, 1951, in New York, New York, to Sara Lee Bostom and Herbert W. Smith. He was proud of attending and graduating from the Garden School in Queens, New York. Jerry received a B.A. Degree in Political Science from Duke University and obtained his J.D. from Emory University School of Law. At Emory, he graduated Order of the Coif and was a member of the Emory Law Journal.
Following law school, Jerry moved to the West Coast and spent the majority of his adult life in Encinitas, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. He was a successful corporate lawyer for many years and was proud to serve as general counsel for two different publicly traded companies. These prominent jobs gave him the opportunity to travel all over the world, something that he enjoyed tremendously.
On the personal side, Jerry was a founding member of Temple Solel in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, and served as the temple’s president from 1987 to 1989. He also enjoyed coaching his sons’ youth sports teams, which included winning multiple youth baseball national championships in Cooperstown, New York.
In addition to playing a prominent role in his sons’ youth sports, Jerry loved attending sporting events with his family and friends, especially to watch his beloved Duke Blue Devils. This included attending 18 NCAA Final Fours, hundreds of Major League Baseball games (mostly San Diego Padres), a Masters Golf Tournament and countless others. Jerry always lived his life in the moment, never wanting to put off attending a family or friend’s function or sporting event when presented with the opportunity. He had a zest for life that was contagious to anyone he met.
When he retired seven years ago, Jerry and Debbie moved to Wilmington, where they immediately became pillars of the Jewish community. It was important to Jerry to join and support both the B’nai Israel congregation and Temple of Israel in Wilmington. He took an active role specifically at B’nai Israel, serving as its treasurer for the last 4.5 years.
When talking to family and friends who knew Jerry best, all reflect on how much Jerry loved and lived for his wife, sons and grandchildren. Jerry was a family man in every sense of the term. If you met him, there’s a very good chance he was bragging about Howard and Richard or showing you pictures of his beloved grandchildren. Jerry’s legacy is his family. He’d tell you that raising Howard and Richard into the men, husbands and fathers that they are and building a close-knit family with Debbie and stand as the greatest accomplishments of his life.
A memorial and celebration of Jerry’s life took place Sunday, Jan. 10, at B’nai Israel Congregation, followed by the burial at B’nai Israel Cemetery.
Share online condolences with the family at Coble Funeral and Cremation Service at Greenlawn Memorial Park.