Gerald Smith remembered as great leader for Detroit

Dr. Gerald K. Smith, President and CEO of YouthVille Detroit, died unexpectedly Saturday afternoon at St. John Hospital.

"There really are very few truly great leaders and he was one," said Skillman Foundation President & CEO Carol Goss, who had been a close friend of Smith's for nearly 40 years.

Goss and Smith began their community and social change work together at Family and Neighborhood Services 37 years ago. When Goss delivered the 2007 James A. Joseph Lecture on Philanthropy at the Council on Foundations annual meeting in Seattle, she asked Smith to introduce her. "That really meant a lot to me to have Gerald close by for such an important event for me and the Skillman Foundation," Goss recalled.

"He was a friend and a mentor to me," Goss said. "He was an incredibly active advocate for children and our community but also someone who loved to have a good time. When we were both at the Kellogg Foundation, we traveled a lot together, and I really appreciated his counsel, his honesty, and his integrity."

A viewing has been scheduled for 1-9 p.m. Friday, September 5, at Swanson Funeral Home, 14751 W. McNichols St., Detroit. On Saturday, September 6, a family hour will take place from 10-11 a.m. with a funeral service immediately following at 11 a.m. at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens, Detroit.