It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Joseph B. Smith, one of the founding partners of Smith & Howard. Joe was loved and respected by those who knew and worked with him and was an esteemed business and civic leader in Atlanta.
Joe’s leadership, character and commitment were integral to setting the foundation for the almost five decades of success the firm has enjoyed.
Sean Taylor, current Managing Partner of Smith & Howard said of his nearly 30-year relationship with Joe, “None of what Smith & Howard brings to our clients, people and community would be possible without what Joe so boldly set out to do nearly 50 years ago. For me personally, I owe everything to Joe. Smith & Howard gave me a chance when many other firms would not. That chance led to me working at the firm for over 26 years, growing in my career and even meeting my wife. All I do for this firm is in large part my attempt to return the debt of gratitude I feel for what Joe and Smith & Howard extended to me – opportunity and trust. Joe was a true mentor and my friend, and I will truly miss my time with him.”
Jim Howard, co-founding partner with Joe, close friend and former Managing Partner perhaps paid the ultimate compliment to Joe when he recounted a question he was asked years ago. “I was at an industry conference and someone asked me if I were to write a book on how to build a lasting accounting firm, what would I title the book. Without hesitation, I answered that the title would simply be Joe Smith.”
Among other endearing qualities, Joe was known for his love of song. In the 90’s, he would entertain us on late tax season evenings with Whitney Houston melodies. He and Jim Howard sang duets at holiday parties – including a particularly dramatic rendition of Moon River. Long after his retirement, Joe continued to join us at holiday parties and other firm celebrations.
It has been said that “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” If the many hundreds of people who have enjoyed careers at Smith & Howard and have been able to provide for their own families as a result of our firm’s existence is any indication, Joe’s life was put to extraordinary use. He will be missed.
We want to thank Joe’s family for sharing him with us throughout his career, and we offer our prayers and sympathy to each of them, especially his daughters, Michaela and Natalie.