Russell Smith, a former chairman of the board of directors at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and a benefactor to Keck Medicine of USC, died recently at the age of 100.
Smith and his wife, Jeanne, became involved with CHLA in the late 1970s when the hospital was going through difficult financial times. Smith took the reigns as chairman of the hospital’s board of directors in 1980 and served in that position until 1988.
His leadership was one of the keys that set CHLA on a path to success. When the hospital opened its first research building in 1989, it was named The H. Russell and Jeanne R. Smith Research Tower.
Smith’s support carried on in later years. In 2007 he donated $2.5 million to Keck Medical Center to establish a chair for the director of the USC CardioVascular Thoracic Institute (CVTI) to provide support for research relating to innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Vaughn A. Starnes, MD, chairman of the Department of Surgery and director of CVTI, is the holder of the H. Russell Smith Foundation chair for cardiovascular Thoracic Research.
Smith, who graduated from Pomona College and was a Navy veteran, joined Avery Dennison Corp. after World War II and served as its president from 1956 to 1975.
He supported many philanthropic organizations and institutions in Southern California, including Pomona College, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and television station KCET.
Smith’s wife of almost 67 years, Jeanne, died in 2009. He is survived by their sons, Stewart and Douglas, daughter, Ellen Scott, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.