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

  1. I knew and worked with and opposing Bob from his time with the NLRB in the late 60’s through his retirement . We were regularly on opposite sides or I was asking him as a judge to rule for my employer client. He was always more than civil, intelligent, and timely. His views as to what the law was most often disagreed with mine, but we remained good friends. He was my duplicate bridge partner for years and we enjoyed the competition and our learning from each other. It only ended when our professional duties would no longer allow the time and sustained concentration elsewhere. I will miss him and extend my sincere sympathies to his beloved Jane and family.

  2. My sincere condolences to Jane, Kim, Jeff, and all the Smith family. Bob was always passionate about his work and committed to issuing the best work product possible.
    More importantly, he was a good person and a good friend who will be missed. RIP Bob.

  3. With my deepest sympathies for the family. I was in my early 20’s and worked for the OOJ. Bob was like a father to me, he’d get mad at me and even call me Kim sometimes. I will never forget him giving me the best piece of advice I’d ever gotten.. he told me “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. For the rest of my career in the legal profession I always dressed like I was the CEO. Lol. He was a great mentor and I know he will be missed by everyone. Prayers to the family during this time.

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