Tom Smith Passed Away on September 2, 2021

By the Family

Sept. 15, 2021: Tom Smith, 83, a longtime resident of Bronxville died on September 2, 2021 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease.  Tom was born in Charlotte, NC and raised in Albemarle, NC.  He graduated cum laude from Woodberry Forest School and Princeton University and received his LLB from University of Virginia School of Law in 1963. During these formative years he adopted the Boston Red Sox as his favorite team, a complicated love affair that continued until his death and was surpassed only by his misguided affection for the NY Jets.

Tom began his legal career with Brown & Wood LLP in 1963 and was named partner in 1971.  He remained at Brown & Wood and its successor firm Sidley Austin for 45 years.  Tom served as Managing Partner of Brown & Wood LLP from 1996 until the firm's merger with Sidley Austin in 2001.  He then served as Vice Chairman of the combined firm from 2001 through 2003, remaining as partner until 2007.   During his leadership, he was known as a forward-thinking deal maker.  In 2007, he joined the SEC's Division of Investment Management as a Senior Advisor, retiring in 2011. 

During his tenure as Vice Chair at Sidley Austin, he led the recovery of the firm after 9/11/01, a challenging time that was profiled by the NY Times in series of articles in 2001 and 2002.  Described by the Times as “a steely lawyer and deal maker whose glare might just crack stone,” the series also captured his compassionate side in his people-focused approach to rebuilding.  

He had a naturally reserved personality, but once acquainted with you, he would surprise you with his wicked sense of humor.  In addition to his family, he had a love for art, Princeton Football, golf, Michael Connolly books, gardening, bridge, Presidential biographies, pimento cheese, family vacations to Hawaii, and a “couple fingers” of a mellow, single-malt Scotch at the end of a day.  He will be best remembered for the dignity and resilience with which he faced the last four years of his life, limited by the effects of Parkinson’s, a stroke, and the isolation of COVID quarantine.  He was fondly nicknamed “Mr. President” by friends at his assisted living facility for the respectful and charismatic way he conducted himself.

Tom is survived by his wife of 49 years, Adrienne, his children – Ashley (Roman), Toby, Lis, and Angus – and 9 grandchildren, Milly, Libby, Avery, Darcy, Aidan, Connor, Riley, Blaire, and Sophie.

Throughout his life, Tom believed firmly in the importance of an outstanding education, a trait instilled in him by his parents.  He was grateful for his years at Woodberry Forest and believed these to be the most formative of his life, without which this country boy from Albemarle would not have achieved his many successes.  In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made in his memory to:

Alumni Memorial Scholarship Fund 

Woodberry Forest School

17 Woodberry Station

Woodberry Forest, Va. 22989 

A memorial service honoring his life will be held at 10 AM on Friday, September 17, 2021 at Christ Church, Bronxville, NY.




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