SMU Dedman School of Law mourns the passing of our distinguished alumnus Edward V. Smith, III (Ed) who died March 16, 2018. He earned his J.D. from SMU Dedman School of Law School in 1963. For his legal accomplishments, Smith received the SMU Law Distinguished Alumni Award for Private Practice in 2006.
Smith was a lifelong resident of Dallas and a fifth generation Texan. He attended North Dallas High School, graduating in 1955. He received his B.A. in 1960 from North Texas State College (now University of North Texas) and developed his leadership skills while there. He was a very devoted alumnus where he served as president of the Alumni Association, Chair of the UNT Foundation, a Regent, Chair of the Professional Development Institute and on numerous committees. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus at UNT in 1992.
He continued his leadership roles as a lawyer, where he served as Chair of the Probate Section of the Dallas Bar. A Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Smith served as membership chair for the State of Texas and as a Regent of the College. He served on many committees in the Dallas and Texas Bars and was a popular speaker. Smith was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the probate sections of both the Dallas Bar and the State Bar of Texas. He also received the Professionalism Award from the Dallas Bar and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. Ed was regularly named Best Lawyer in Dallas by D Magazine and Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly and was listed in Best Lawyers in America. In addition to his role as a Regent of UNT, Ed served as a trustee of the University of the Ozarks from 1985 until his death, serving two terms as chair of the board.
Smith served his community as a member of the board of the United Way, Advisory Board member of both the Dallas Foundation and the Communities Foundation of Texas and as Chairman of the Board of the Grace Foundation. He was a devoted member of
Westminster Presbyterian Church and a lifelong Presbyterian.
In his spare time, Smith wrote two published novels, adopting the pen name Hawthorne Vance.
Ed Smith knew how to bring people together and used those skills as a mediator. Most of all, he loved people. If you were his friend, you were a friend forever. He and Judge Nikki DeShazo, his wife, loved the company of others on their many trips and often traveled with friends. “With Nikki, his partner in mischief, Ed’s life goal was to go everywhere and do everything. Rumor is that together they got close,” said Roy R. Anderson, Vinson & Elkins Distinguished Teaching Fellow and Professor Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. “Ed Smith will be fondly remembered for a long, long time by his many, many friends and admirers. We will tell stories of Ed and, even better, stories of Ed telling stories. Ed loved to tell stories. My favorites came when we exchanged tales of our law school misadventures and encounters with some of our favorite and now legendary law professors at SMU, whom we shared just a few years apart. Simpler times – and we were so much smarter then! Ed has left a big hole in many hearts.”
“We are grateful for Ed Smith and Judge Nikki DeShazo’s dedication to the law school throughout the years. Mr. Smith was truly one of our most distinguished alumni,” said Jennifer Collins, Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. “We will be forever grateful for him and he will be missed by all.”
He is survived by his wife, Judge Nikki DeShazo, daughter, Amy Lou Abernethy, stepsons Steve and Doug DeShazo, his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Memorials, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Ed and Nikki Smith Scholarship Fund at University of North Texas, the Judge Nikki T. DeShazo and Edward V. Smith III Dallas County Probate Clerkship and Mentoring Program at the Dallas Bar Association or the American Cancer Society.
A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on March 26th at 2:00 p.m.