In memory of our Beloved First Lady Barbara W. Smith
Barbara W. Smith joined her husband as partner in the ministry at Covenant United Church of Christ. She worked 34 years of Corporate Leadership and Banking experience along with an equal number of years serving in various roles of church leadership.
Barbara joined the Northern Trust Company (Chicago) in 1999, and held the title of Senior Vice President. Prior to joining Northern Trust, Barbara spent eight years as Vice President Corporate Planning for Johnson Publishing Co. (Chicago); six years as Manager Financial Planning at Federal Express Corp; and 13 years at Union Planters National Bank (Memphis, TN) as Manager of Credit Analysis and Vice President and Senior Credit Officer. Barbara received an undergraduate degree in Marketing and her Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Memphis, Tennessee.
Complementing her professional career in Corporate Management, Barbara had been actively engaged in various roles in church leadership. She served as Organist and Minister of Music for 25 years at the Olivet Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee. Upon relocation to Chicago in support of her husband's calling to ministry, Barbara joined the music staff at Trinity United Church of Christ as staff musician and Director for the Teen Choir Imani Ya Watume.
Barbara lived her calling to lay ministry by using her ability to encourage and motivate others to move and grow beyond where they are and to achieve the potential that God already sees. She described herself as the Minister of Encouragement!
Barbara had accepted numerous speaking engagements, and was especially proud of her invitation to speak at the House of Commons in London for the Black Women in Business Conference. She also had been actively engaged in community and educational support organizations for her children, including Jack and Jill of America, Parent Support for the Soul Children of Chicago and various parent organizations associated with the Homewood Flossmoor High School. She was a former member of the Governing Council for the Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center, and served on the Board of Directors and Audit Committee for the Local Church Ministries Church Building and Loan Fund established at the Cleveland Headquarters for the United Church of Christ. Additionally, Barbara served on the Board of Directors for the Christian Community Health Center of Chicago. Barbara was an active member of various organizations of the Covenant United Church of Christ (South Holland, IL) including the Women's Ministries, Choir Administration, and Finance Oversight Committee.
Barbara was a tireless advocate and contributer to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation most recently serving as speaker in October 2008 with a speech entitled, "I Choose to Dance"--and dance she did! Barbara went home to be with the Lord January 22, 2009 after a six year battle with Multiple Myeloma.