Deceased December 1, 2017
David Williamson Smith of Scarsdale, N.Y., died peacefully surrounded by family on Dec. 1 following a battle with cancer. He was 71.
David will be remembered as a caring, funny, witty, upbeat, at times mischievous but always thoughtful, person who was a loving and passionate father, grandfather, mentor, friend and professional.
David had an illustrious career as a manager, executive and lawyer. From 1991-2010 David was the president and CEO of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals. As the leader of the Society for nearly 20 years, David was one of the preeminent voices on corporate governance in the United States. He was frequently asked to serve on committees established by the Securities and Exchange Commission and New York Stock Exchange. David was a frequent lecturer on governance and securities law at institutions including Columbia Business School, Georgetown University, Stanford Law School and the University of Delaware. Many of the Society’s 4,000 members from over 2,500 companies counted David as a mentor, advocate and counselor. David was recognized on a number of occasions as one of the “One Hundred Most Impactful Leaders in Corporate Governance.”
Prior to the Society, David co-founded and served as president and publisher of Confetti Magazine, a collection of magazines that was distributed to 9,000 department and specialty stores in the United States. David’s early career included service as general counsel and senior vice president of Federated Linen and Uniform Service, as well as president & CEO of the Salon Division and assistant to the chairman of Seligman & Latz, a $400mm NYSE-listed company that operated beauty and jewelry boutiques in department stores throughout the country. David was also assistant general counsel at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the first brokerage and investment bank listed on the NYSE.
During his remarkably varied career, David was often described by colleagues as innovative, entrepreneurial, thoughtful, honest, kind and considerate of those he worked with.
In the late 1960’s David was a public school teacher in the Bronx. This experience fed a passion for children and education that he embraced following his retirement. Until his death, David was a volunteer, mentor, Trustee and the Board secretary of Children’s Village, a charitable organization focused on helping at risk youth and families in the New York Metropolitan area. David was also a member of the Board of Education for the Greenburg NY 11 School District.
David was virtually inseparable from his beloved wife of 36 years, Cheryl. He, along with Cheryl, devoted much of his time to Saint James the Less Church in Scarsdale, N.Y. David served as a warden, vestryman, youth group leader and Sunday School teacher. Through the Church, David and Cheryl also led many missions to feed the homeless of New York City with Midnight Run. David was particularly proud of his “Midnight Run Soup” which he thought was so good it could be canned and sold with proceeds going to support Midnight Run.
David’s favorite role was as a doting husband, father, grandfather and uncle. For David family always came first, and he delighted in time spent on holidays and at the family’s home in Chatham on Cape Cod, always surrounded by his children and grandchildren. David could often be found laughing and reminiscing about experiences accumulated during a life very well lived.
David Williamson Smith was born in Greenfield, Mass., in 1945 to Kenneth Howard Smith and Eleanor Grimes Smith and was raised in Yonkers, N.Y. His father was a high school English teacher in Mount Vernon and his mother was an administrative assistant for the Scarsdale Board of Education. Because of his mother’s job, David had the opportunity to attend Scarsdale High School, where he was class president and graduated in 1963.
Having received a scholarship from the Scarsdale PTA, David matriculated to Amherst College in Massachusetts, from which his father also graduated in 1931. David was an active member of the college community including the Phi Gamma Chi fraternity. He served as a class agent for over 30 years, was reunion chair for his 30th and class president from 1997-2002. Amherst—the place, the institution and the relationships he made in college—held an important place in David’s heart throughout his adult life. He never missed an Amherst reunion, and in May of 2017, he, Cheryl and his son Todd ’97 attended his 50th Reunion. Following his graduation from Amherst, David earned his Juris Doctor degree from New York University Law School.
David is survived by his wife, Cheryl; his children, Dylan, Stephanie Treanor, Erich Stegich, Todd and Jenner, as well as his grandchildren, Max and Leo Tuerkheimer Smith, Josh and Olivia Stegich and Lila, Sophie and Marin Treanor. David is also survived by his sister, Sandra LeBeau, and husband Martin and nieces Marcia and Deidre and nephew Jonathon.
Todd Smith ’97