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When I moved to Kent in 2003 and started my own business, one of the first things I did was join the KACC and thus met the man in charge – Dan Smith. He immediately made me feel right at home in a town I had been to maybe once before cupid intervened in my well-planned out life in Cincinnati. Dan invited me to attend a KACC luncheon, introduced me to key people that would soon play an integral part in the success of not only my business, but also in making lasting friendships. The next thing I knew I wasn’t only a member, but participating on committees, and soon a Board member. He could be very charming and persuasive. When I was named Executive Director in August 2009, it was Dan that took me out to lunch to congratulate me and offer any assistance he could in my transition.
Dan had an infectious laugh and an irritating way of always being happy and smiling. It was hard to be upset, complain or be down when Dan was around. When you asked him how he was, he’d smile and say, “just my same old, wonderful self.”
It became a running joke that every time we announced the annual membership total, Dan would without hesitation announce it wasn’t quite a record – moving the unobtainable record higher and higher. He joked that my deadlines for Tree City Bulletin articles were ‘suggestions’, and would strive if nothing else to at least get his article in before City Manager, Dave Ruller. He’d always ask when he sent in his article, “did I get it in before Dave?” We’d laugh and know the answer was probably, no!
For the last 14 months in an attempt to keep things light whenever we were together, I reminded Dan that if anyone was going to beat this and win, it was going to be him – the most non-compliant person I ever met. In pure Dan Smith fashion, he’d smile and laugh. On a grey, overcast Wednesday afternoon (July 23rd), that smile ceased and that infectious laugh was silenced. Dan fought the good fight and kept a positive attitude until the very end.
I, along with others at the Chamber (both past and present) appreciate everything Dan did for the organization, the Central Portage County Visitors & Convention Bureau and the City of Kent. He was a great ambassador for the business community, a tireless advocate for economic growth in the area, an amazing husband and dad. To me, he was a great friend and someone I’m truly blessed to have known. Let’s all take a minute to thank Dan Smith for everything he did for us personally, our organization and community. May he rest in peace entertaining the angels and saints with Jimmy Buffet tunes. Peace…Love & Flip Flops! Love ya Dano!
Lori M. Wemhoff – Executive Director
176 East Main Street
Kent, Ohio 44240