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Sherman Smith Jr.


1944 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Sherman Smith Jr. Obituary
January 2, 1944 - September 4, 2016 Sherman Wendell Smith, Jr., retired judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 72 after a long illness. Born in Washington, D.C., to Sherman W. Smith, Sr., and Ethel Hoffler Smith, he received his B.A. from Howard University in 1966 and J.D. from Howard Law School in 1969. In Los Angeles, Sherman Jr. served as Deputy Public Defender from 1971 to 1976. He joined the appellate division of the City Attorney's Office in 1977, and was a Special Counsel to improve relations with the poor and black communities. He was a president of the New Frontier Democratic Club and member of the L.A. County Democratic Central Committee before being appointed to the L.A. Municipal Court in 1979. He rose to Presiding Judge and was later elected to the L.A. Superior Court in 1988. Throughout his legal career, the same accolades always applied. "Extremely fair-minded." "Able to encourage even the most contentious parties to work together for resolution." And, no matter what, "calm." He frequently taught, particularly diversity and anti-bias training, and mentored, while striving to increase the numbers, visibility, and impact of minorities in the legal profession. After his judicial retirement in 1999, he joined JAMS as an Alternative Dispute Resolution mediator and arbitrator. He received numerous awards for public service and judicial excellence, including being named a 2012 Legend of the Legal Profession by the John M. Langston Bar Association. Always ready with a willing ear, sage advice, and untiring support, to many Sherman Jr. was like the best of big brothers. He was quick with a quip; easy with his loud laughter. Eighteen years ago Sherman Jr. met the love of his life, Sallie; they wed in 2005. And every day he was a devoted and beloved son, brother, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife; son, Sherman III (Renee); and three grandchildren, Devon, Hunter, and Colin; his stepmother, Helen; brother, Roger (LeTania), and sister, Louise (Barbara); and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Services will be held at St. James' Episcopal Church, 3903 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, on Saturday, September 17, at 11 a.m. Charitable donations in Smith's memory may be directed to the Tower Cancer Research Foundation or the of one's choice.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 15 to Sept. 16, 2016
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