Joe E. Smith, PharmD'64
Dr. Joe E. Smith died Wednesday, August 22, 2018 of congestive heart failure at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.
Joe was born January 29, 1934, in Connelly Springs, North Carolina, to Margaret Parilee (Arney) Smith and Guy Rupert Smith. When he was fourteen, Joe contracted polio and spent three years in treatment at Warm Springs, Georgia. He returned home to complete high school and graduated from Hildebran High School. Joe was deeply grateful to his kind classmates, who carried him up and down the school stairs every day so he could attend classes. For the rest of his life, he returned to every reunion of his high school class he could attend. Joe earned his B.Sc. in Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina, and his Pharm.D. at the University of Michigan, where he did his residency. In 1964, Joe became Assistant Director of Pharmacy Service at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia; and in 1966, he became Director of Pharmacy Service at Jefferson, where he remained for the rest of his career.
Through his tireless efforts, Joe became a national leader in hospital pharmacy and pharmacy education. Joe’s colleagues have said his personal humility and determination made him the ideal candidate to lead Jefferson’s Pharmacy Department and make it a foundational block in the renaissance of pharmacy education at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. Joe closely engaged professional staff in the clinical care of patients and the clinical education of students in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program; and he became the first clinical professor of pharmacy practice at the College.
Joe was never one to promote himself, and he reluctantly received many honors for the dynamic practice and education programs he spearheaded at Jefferson, and the contributions he made to the profession. Joe was a founding member of the Pennsylvania Society of Hospital Pharmacists and remained active in the organization throughout his career. He contributed to pharmacy scholarship through more than 30 published articles and many presentations at professional symposia. In recognition of his efforts, Joe was awarded the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists’ highest award, the Harvey A. K. Whitney Award. In bestowing the award, the ASHP observed that Joe had had a profound impact upon the practice, educational, administrative, research and organizational components of hospital pharmacy in the United States. Throughout his career, Joe demonstrated great compassion for students, residents, staff, and patients. As an example, in 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War, Joe assumed responsibility for helping displaced refugee pharmacists from Vietnam. He worked tirelessly to develop training programs and sponsorship services to help them resume their professional practice and regain their dignity. Many of these refugees then became licensed pharmacists or technicians practicing throughout the country.
After Joe’s retirement from Jefferson, he continued to share his knowledge and boundless enthusiasm with others. Among other endeavors, Joe was a dedicated volunteer at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where he helped develop exhibits on pharmaceuticals, and joyfully engaged with children and adult visitors.