Howard William Smith

November 17, 1927 ~ March 7, 2021 (age 93)


The service for Mr. Smith will be live streamed on the Facebook Page of Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor.


Howard William Smith was born November 17, 1927 in Petersburg (Dinwiddie County), Virginia to Ora Allen and Edward Smith.  He departed this life on March 7, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina.

Howard attended Lincoln School, an historic landmark for African Americans in Englewood. New Jersey. He graduated from Englewood’s Dwight Morrow High School in 1947. He earned his undergraduate degree in History and Sociology from North Carolina College in 1952. Howard enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1952 and served in the Korean conflict until 1954.  He was honorably discharged from active duty.

Howard was married to Elnora Clark, his childhood sweetheart, for 63 years. From their union were two children: Sharon and Alan. They lived and raised their family in Englewood until 2017 when they relocated to Durham, North Carolina.

Howard W. Smith was a family man, a church going man, and a devoted Kappa (Kappa Alpha Psi) man who loved his fraternity and what it stood for. Most of the time, he found a way to balance all three of these aspects of himself.  Howard was especially proud of the fact that he had been a faithful and longtime member of his family church, First Baptist-Englewood, where he served as church clerk, chairman of the Chapel of the Four Children Scholarship and Education Fund, Inc., member of the budget and nominating committees, substitute teacher in the Sunday school, and one of the delegates to the Annual Session of American Baptist Churches of New Jersey. He was an active participant in Men’s Day activities.

He and his wife, Elnora, joined White Rock Baptist Church on September 3, 2017 from the First Baptist Church in Englewood, New Jersey.  They came highly recommended for membership by the Pastor, Dr. John H. Spencer, Jr.  Regretfully, Mrs. Smith died about six months later.  He became faithfully active in his attendance and in his tithes and offerings to the church.  Prior to Covid-19, the church would see Mr. Smith sitting in the vestibule after the service waiting for his “ride” to come for him.

Howard loved to entertain family and friends. He honed his entertainment skills while managing and operating a successful catering business (with Geneva Wilson) in Englewood. He was a lover of fine table settings and extraordinary meals.  He always served his guests and family the finest of spirits. Howard’s devotion to his family showed up in different ways from special looks, smiles, and hand holding with Elnora; family dinners every evening; attending games with Alan; discussing the stock market with Sharon; and generally being available to help family and friends when he could.

Howard was proud of his professional life. He decided not to pursue a post graduate degree but instead to challenge his abilities on the weight of his undergraduate degree. The journey of his professional life was largely one of loyal service to New York City citizens and employees. His duties ranged from responsibility for fiscal affairs for temporary detention centers, and shelters for the Department of Social Services of New York City, as well as the budgetary operation of the Department of Probation for the City of New York as Chief of Budget and Personnel. Howard was responsible for administrative services and management of revenue generation for the NYC Department of Probation as Associate Commissioner for Administrative Services.

“Popi,” “Pop,”, “lil’ Howard, or Mr. Howard” as he was affectionately known, enjoyed listening to jazz music, audio books, and news programs. He debated and could talk about history, the Bible, politics, or anything else anyone wanted to discuss. At 93, his sharp mind made trips down memory lane unforgettable adventures. His legacy of being a good provider, husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, son-in-law, uncle, relative, and friend will live on in the hearts of many for eternity.

He is preceded in death by his first-born grandchild, Christopher; his son Alan Howard Smith; and his wife, Elnora Clark Smith. 

He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted daughter, Sharon S. Baker (Donald) of Durham, NC; daughter-in-law Robin Smith of Leesburg, VA; two grandchildren; Leah Michelle Smith and Aaron James Smith, Leesburg, VA; his sister, Evelyn Frye Gainor of Mechanicsville, VA; sisters-in-law, Mable Williamson of Englewood, NJ and Betty Gilchrist (Leon) of Teaneck, NJ; nieces: Kathy A. Gainor (NJ), Myrna Taylor (NJ), Laurie Brown (Adrian) (NY), Gwen Meacham (NY), Tamara Beamer (Philip) (NJ), Lisa Gilchrist, (NJ); nephews, R. Marcus Gainor (NJ), Michael Smith (NY), Phillip Williamson (NJ), Leon Vaughn Gilchrist (TX), Eric Gilchrist (NJ); special cousins; Marcus Allen (CA), Richard Allen (NJ), Barbara Jackson (NV), Eleton Johns (MD), and a host of other relatives and friends.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Howard William Smith, please visit our floral store.


March 24, 2021

1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor
3137 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707

Graveside Service
March 27, 2021

11:00 AM
John Hall Presbyterian Church Cemetery

Carthage, NC 28327

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