Santa Monica community leader and political activist, Clyde Smith, died Thursday, January 1, 2009 after a brief illness. Clyde was the Executive Director of the now-defunct Neighborhood Redevelopment Corporation (NRDC), a nonprofit that rehabbed hundreds of housing units in Santa Monica for the elderly and low-income families. He also served actively in many of the Westside area service organizations, including the Rotary Club of Santa Monica, Santa Monica Red Cross, Pico Neighborhood Association, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Monica College Advisory Board, among others. Along with former Santa Monica mayor Nat Trives,, he co-founded the Westside MLK Westside Coalition and remained a very active participant in its work. At the time of his death, Mr. Smith was also Chairman of the Salvation Army Corps here in Santa Monica.
Clyde, a USC alumnus, was also a Marine Corps veteran and he served in the Vietnam war. He loved music and loved to sing. He faithfully attended the Playboy Jazz Festival in Hollywood each year. He sang with, and was president of, the Dave Weston Singers, a local Gospel ensemble that performs both locally and statewide at civic and religious engagements. He was a church leader and an exemplary family man.
Smith is survived by his wife of 38 years, Rosemary, their son Sean, daughter-in-law Elizabeth, and seven grandchildren, four of whom are Sean and Elizabeth’s. Their only daughter, Sterling Tisha, preceded him in death last year.
Clyde will be remembered and missed as the “village wise man” who generously shared his counsel, good advice, and loving support with all, young and old, who were troubled in spirit or needed to be pointed in the right direction. He gave unselfishly of his time and efforts to make our world a better place.
A Memorial Service celebrating his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 10, 2009 at First United Methodist Church, 1008 11th Street. A repast following the service will be held in Simkins Hall located in the Shelby Center adjacent to the sanctuary. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, a contribution be made to the Santa Monica Chapter of the Salvation Army in memory of Clyde Smith.