Dr. Joseph Smith of Forty Fort passed away at home Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, after a lengthy illness at the age of 89.
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He was born Aug. 24, 1923, in New York City, the son of Jacob and Sara Smith and brother of the late Attorney Harry Smith of Scarsdale, N.Y.
He was an optometrist until his retirement in 2001. He had offices in Plymouth and Forty Fort and was the founder and owner of Omni Lens Corp., Micro-Vent Corp., Plymouth Laboratories and Forty Fort Eye Associates.
He was a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and a member of Beta Sigma Kappa honorary society for academic excellence. At the Pennsylvania College of Optometry he was a member of the Iris Honor Society and the Albert Fitch Honor Society.
He attended the University of Maryland before enlisting in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. He completed the Army Specialized Training Program in civil engineering at Penn State University. He was a T/3 staff sergeant and an intelligence officer and was stationed in Hawaii. He received the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, a World War II Victory Medal and an American Service Medal while in the U.S. Army. While in Hawaii, he taught civil engineering and mathematics.
His personal, professional and academic accomplishments were numerous. In every organization that he was a member of, he became president or vice president. He served as the president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Optometric Association, as well as the vice president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association. He served as the president of the Wilkes-Barre Torch Club and then served as an ambassador for the Middle Atlantic region. He was a former president of the Plymouth Kiwanis Club and also served as president of the Vision Conservation Institute and was president of the Vision Services Association.
He was the author of numerous articles and papers on contact lenses and lectured extensively throughout the United States on eye problems and contact lenses. He wrote numerous fitting manuals for fitting contact lenses and wrote a book on "Optics" while he was an optometry school student. He served as a visiting clinical instructor and a visiting staff professional advisory board member at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He also served as an adjunct optometry faculty member, allowing students to complete their fourth-year clinical rotations in his office. He was the inventor and owner of numerous U.S. and foreign patents on the finishing processes of gas permeable contact lenses. He was featured on PM Magazine nationally on fitting contact lenses and how to fit patients with irregular corneas. He also started the Optometric Technician Program at Allied Medical College, where he also taught several courses.
He was a member of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association, the American Academy of Optometry, the National Research Foundation and the National Society for Scientists and Inventors. He was a member of the Jewish War Veterans of America, the Jewish Community Center, Ohav Zedek Synagogue, the Plymouth Kiwanis Club, the Wilkes-Barre Torch Club, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Optometric Society, the Pennsylvania Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association, and was a lifetime member of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry/Salus University.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Libby, in 1993.
He is survived by his sons, Dr. and Mrs. Stafford Smith and their children, Noah, Tiffany and Skyler, Dr. Jason Smith and Ms. Sandie Toole; sisters–in-law, Sandra Platsky, Doris Lipman, Caroline Leibman, Ruth Leibman, Bernice Leibman; brothers-in-law, Robert Lipman, Bernard Leibman, Edward Leibman; nieces, Dr. Laura Spear, Stephanie Tupper, Attorney Iris Iler; and nephews, Scott Platsky, Alan Leibman, Dr. Rodney Lipman and Dr. Alan Smith.
Dr. Smith's family would like to thank those organizations, friends, doctors and nurses who helped care for him at his home over many years, including Dr. John Kish, Dr. Alan Fierverker, Dr. Steven Kafrissen, Dr. Bradley Fenster, Dr. Mark Indzonka, Dr. Walter Delgaudio, Dr. Michael Olenginski, Mr. Bruce Lefkowitz and the staff and pharmacists at Harrold's Pharmacy, Erwine's Home Health Care, Home Instead and, most recently, the doctors, nurses and staff on the seventh floor of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Special thanks to Eli Troup, Joyce Prebola, Andrea Gosciewski and Donna Stankus, who provided their outstanding care from Erwine's Home Health and Hospice Care. Also, a thanks to Ms. Geri Gallagher for her special touch in providing care and comfort to Dr. Smith.
The funeral will take place at Rosenberg Funeral Chapel, 348 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre, at 10 a.m. Thursday, with Rabbi Nemetzky officiating, followed by burial services at Ohav Zedek/Anshe-Emes Cemetery, Blanchard Street, Plains Township.
Based on Dr. Smith's wishes, friends and family are cordially invited to the Woodlands Resort and Hotel to pay their respects from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Contributions may be made based on the donor's choice.
Published in Citizens' Voice from Jan. 1 to Jan. 2, 2013