Heights community loses dear friend Tony Smith
Longtime Cleveland Heights resident Anthony E. "Tony" Smith, known for his involvement in the Heights community and his ownership of Cleveland-area Popeye's franchises, died in his Cleveland Heights home on Nov. 29, at age 53.
Smith and his wife, Vanessa L. Whiting, opened their first restaurant in 1990, a Dock's Great Fish in Cleveland. Five years later, they became Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen franchisees and opened their first Cleveland location, eventually owning 16 locations in Northeast Ohio.
Smith’s children, Taylor, Lorin and Tony II, attended Roxboro Elementary and Roxboro Middle schools, and nephew Dan attended Heights High.
“I have seen Tony’s generosity and kindness. He was a great advocate and supporter of the CH-UH schools,” said Katura Simmons, CH-UH PTA president. “Many times we called on Tony to help us out in a pinch with a school or community event and, without hesitation, he would come through, often going above and beyond to make sure that we had a great event.”
While Smith was a great supporter of school and community volunteers, he also contributed in many official ways to the CH-UH City School District.
“Tony’s contributions to the district were invaluable,” said Ron Register, CH-UH Board of Education president. “His work on school levies and in supporting individual students showed the highest commitment that a man can make in his life. We love you Tony and will miss you.”
Smith was a member of Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, an active member of the 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland and a trustee emeritus of the Great Lakes Science Center.
Memorial donations are welcome, and may be directed to the Anthony E. Smith Charitable Fund at The Cleveland Foundation. A check or money order made out to The Cleveland Foundation, referencing Anthony E. Smith Charitable Fund on the memo line, should be mailed to:
The Cleveland Foundation Advancement Dept. , 1422 Euclid Ave., Suite 1300, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.
Donations via credit card can be made through the Cleveland Foundation's website, www.clevelandfoundation.org.
Carla Bailey is the Heights High PTA president and a volunteer with the AFS Foreign Exchange Student Program.