Remembering Tom Smith (1934-2022)


With heavy hearts, the Community Foundation notes the passing of Tom Smith, a valued member of our board of directors. Tom had served on our board since 2011, always bringing with him a warmth and compassion for others. We are grateful for his service and commitment not only to our organization but particularly to those in need. We are all better for having known Tom Smith. To his wife Mary Lou, his sons, and the entire Smith family, we send our heartfelt condolences.

Thank you to the Smith family for sharing Tom's obituary:

B. Thomas M. Smith Jr., renowned husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, friend, and philanthropist, died at the family cottage in Bay View, Michigan on August 28, 2022.

Tom, as he preferred, was born in Petersburg, Virginia on the 30th of September 1934. He grew up in a modest setting, reared by his beloved maternal grandmother “Nanny,” from whom he got his gentle soul, his Aunt Laura and Uncle AC, from whom he learned the value of demanding work and the importance of thrift, and his father, who passed on his indefatigable, outgoing personality. He grew up as an only child, surrounded by a gentle, loving family, which forged his life as a devoted father and grandfather.

He moved with his father to Flint, Michigan where, at the age of thirteen, he met Mary Lou Schofield, who later became his wife of 67 years, at a Church youth event. Tom and Mary Lou both attended Kalamazoo College, where Tom was a varsity tennis player on a national championship team.

His great loves in life were his wife Mary Lou, his family, friends, sweets (particularly scones and ice cream), business and the stock market.

Tennis was a lifelong passion; Tom won six City of Flint open singles and fourteen doubles championships, and he was instrumental in establishing the Flint Swim and Racquet Club and Genesee Valley Tennis Club with several of his Flint Central High School tennis team friends and alumni. He was particularly proud of his performances in the State of West Virginia 18 and under and the State of Michigan 45 and under indoor tournaments (both of which he lost in the finals). He played in many USTA senior leagues and tournaments in Florida and qualified for a national senior tournament.

Tom earned a master's degree in business from Michigan State University and undertook post graduate studies at General Motors Institute in Flint. He worked for AC Sparkplug and several General Motors divisions in Flint and the corporate headquarters in Detroit before joining Massey Ferguson in Toronto, Canada and finally the ITT Corporation in New York City. After his retirement, he served on the board of directors for two publicly traded companies D&N/Republic Bank and Star Buffet Corporation.

He travelled the world, many times, for work and pleasure – his passports had so many addenda that they looked like tomes; He made close friends in many faraway places.

Raised in humble family circumstances, Tom remained always alert and sensitive to the needs of others. Together with Mary Lou, he volunteered and supported many community service organizations and institutions, including the YMCA of Ridgewood, The University of Michigan, Resurrection House in Sarasota, Florida, Rotary Clubs in several locations, and The Petoskey- Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. He helped establish Friends of the Florence, a charitable organization dedicated to providing food, supplies, and money to underprivileged individuals and communities, as well as individuals and communities facing financial and other hardships, and grants to organizations that serve such individuals and communities around the world.

He is survived by his wife Mary Lou, sons B. Thomas M. Smith III (Pam), David (Nancy), Mark (Carol), and grandchildren Trent Stark (Shauna), Benjamin T. M. Smith IV (Courtney), Caroline, Aubri, Andrew, Tait, Chandler (Asha), Meghan, James, Elizabeth, and great granddaughter Galma.

A memorial service for Tom will be held in July 2023 at Bay View. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Tom through a charitable donation are asked to consider The Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation or the Bay View Association.