Robert Joseph Smith

Robert Joseph Smith

June 11, 1943 - January 20, 2023

Robert Joseph Smith

June 11, 1943 - January 20, 2023


Robert Joseph Smith, loving husband, father, and grandfather, age 79, passed away on January 20th, after a very short illness, surrounded by family. Born in Washington DC on June 11, 1943, Bob moved to Gassaway as a young boy and then on to the west side of Charleston when he was 8. It was here that he met his future wife, Jane Calhoun, who he was married to for 57 years.

Bob graduated from Morris Harvey College and then went on to graduate law school from the University of Kentucky. His legal career spanned over 50 years with the majority of it spent in support of worker’s rights. Bob was an avid reader of all genres with a particular fondness for World War II and Civil War history. He enjoyed cooking for himself, family, and friends. He also enjoyed golfing. Anyone who knew him also knew him as someone who loved to banter back and forth with family, friends, and neighbors. He had a great sense of humor.
Most of all, he valued spending time with his family.

Bob is survived by his wife Jane, daughter Kim, son Jeff and his wife Kristin, his four grandchildren Noah, Avery, Cooper, and CoraJane, and his little dog Izzy who brought him tremendous joy in recent years.

The family will celebrate Bob’s life later in the Spring as he would have liked – telling jokes, drinking Pepsi, and eating burnt chocolate chip cookies.

The family would like to extend its tremendous gratitude to the nursing staff at 2 East at CAMC – Courtney, Megan, Emma, Makayla, and many others, his neighbor Angie, the staff at HospiceCare at CAMC, and the Rev. Sky Kershner at Unity of Kanawha Valley for helping him navigate this final journey with dignity and grace.

Condolences may be shared with the family at .

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston has been entrusted with the arrangements.

Celebration of Life

  • Venue: Coming Soon

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13 responses to Robert Joseph Smith

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  1. Bob Baker says:

    My condolences to Bob’s family. I just learned of his passing today, and am very saddened to hear it. I appeared in front of him and worked with him (occasionally) for years. We were often of like minds about the cases we had, and he was a wonderful mentor to me over the years. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.

  2. J.C. Powell says:

    Judge Robert Smith changed my life for the better but he always refused to take the credit. Like so many other lawyers before me, he reached down and gave me a hand when I needed help. He did not show favoritism but did appreciate hard work.

    Judge Robert Smith fought to keep justice available for you and me, not just the rich and powerful. Judge Robert Smith knew that we need protection and fairness in our lives and fought to make the system work for the workers.

    Judge Robert J. Smith was a compassionate individual who loved his family. When I would see him at Krogers he would always talk about his family during the conversation.

    My condolences to the family and I pray that others will follow in his large footprints providing fairness and assistance to those in need.

  3. Tony Frame says:

    Very saddened to belatedly learn of the passing of Judge Smith, as I knew him from his years as chief administrative law judge. He was a fine person and a great help to me professionally and personally early in my career. My condolences to his family.

  4. So many fun and warm
    memories of Bob for the past 60 plus years. Sending lots of love and condolences to you, Kim, Jeff and all immediate and extended families.

  5. David Watson says:

    Bob Smith was a great man. Always had a smile for you. He will be missed.

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