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Honoring the Life and Legacy of Phil Smith

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Phil Smith

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Phil Smith

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings
Congresional Record: 115th Congress
Extensions of Remarks
20 December 2016

HON. ALCEE L. HASTINGS of Florida in the House of Representatives
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Mr. HASTINGS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life and legacy 
of Mr. Phil Smith, a dear friend and philanthropist in South Florida, 
who touched the lives of countless people. Phil tragically passed away 
on December 14, 2016, after an 18 month battle with ALS.
  Phil was born in New Jersey and moved to South Florida at the age of 
three. He attended Chaminade High School in Fort Lauderdale and was 
awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Florida Atlantic 
University's (FAU) College of Business in 1969. During college, Phil 
began to work at a Ford dealership in Pompano Beach. He was so 
successful he stayed after graduation, was given the opportunity to 
open a dealership, and never looked back.

  Phil went on to found Phil Smith Management, Inc., serving as 
President and CEO. He operated eleven automobile dealership locations 
representing 25 franchises in Florida and North Carolina. His company 
employs 780 people. He never forgot where he came from or the people 
who worked for him, and started an annual college scholarship program 
for the children of his employees.

  Phil also served as the Co-Chair of the South Florida Super Bowl Host 
Committee and sat on the Boards of the Orange Bowl Committee and the 
Broward Workshop, a nonprofit organization that represents the 
interests of 100 Broward businesses and professions. Because of his 
community involvement, Phil was awarded with the Florida Sun Sentinel 
Company's 2013 Excalibur Award for Business Leader of the Year in 
Broward County.

  He always gave back and was well-known for his civic, charitable, and 
philanthropic involvement throughout South Florida. He was involved 
with a number of advocacy groups serving the public, including the 
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Humane Society of Broward County, the 
American Cancer Society, and the Make a Wish Foundation. His most 
recent donation was to Holy Cross Hospital--a gift of $7 million to 
fund state-of-the-art neurological care.

  Phil and his wife Susan also gave to his alma mater, and gifted 
Florida Atlantic University $5 million to establish the Phil Smith 
Center for Free Enterprise. Supporting the strategic plan of the 
College of Business, the Center will add chaired professorships, 
support research and educational programs for faculty members and 
students, and support distinguished visiting faculty along with a 
lecture series and other educational programs focused on the principles 
of free enterprise.

  After his diagnosis with ALS, Phil became more involved in efforts to 
fight this terrible disease. He worked with Holy Cross Hospital in 
South Florida to establish the Phil Smith ALS and Movement Disorders 
Clinic, which provides access to leading edge clinical trials and 
research through an expanded relationship with Massachusetts General 

  After an 18 month battle with ALS, Phil tragically passed away at the 
age of 70 last week. He is survived by his wife of 30 years Susan, his 
sister Judy, his daughter Shawn, son-in-law Charlie, and three 
grandchildren James, Kaelin, and Cali.

  Mr. Speaker, Phil was a dear friend and kind soul. He touched the 
lives of so many, and his philanthropic efforts in Florida will go on 
to touch the lives of many more. It is with a heavy heart that I rise 
today to honor his life and accomplishments, but most of all, to honor 
our friendship. He will be so dearly missed.

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