The Magnitude Of One Man – Memphis Bids Farewell To Bernal E. Smith, Jr.

This past Friday (October 27, 2017) family and friends gathered to say their final goodbyes to Mr. Bernal E. Smith, Jr..
Smith the publisher and editor of the New Tri State Defender suddenly passed on last week (Sunday, October 22, 2017)

The passing for Bernal was a surprise and heartbreaking all in one.  Mr. Smith died at his home Sunday afternoon. His wife, Towanda Smith, said doctors attributed his death to natural causes. He was 45.

Brandon Dill (Commercial Appeal)

Brandon Dill (Commercial Appeal)

The man who loved the city of Memphis and everything it embodies caused waves of shock across social media and local airwaves. Over the last week my social media timeline has been filled with memories, pictures, tributes and expressions of the late Mr. Smith.
 A native Memphian, Mr. Smith graduated from Rhodes College with a Bachelor of Art degree in business administration. He had served on the Rhodes College International Alumni Board of Directors and received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2001 presented by the Rhodes College Black Student Association.
Not only was Bernal a friend to the site, he was a supporter, a fan and a personal friend of mine. No matter where we crossed paths or bumped into each other throughout the city, he was always up for a conversation, a picture and to drop a few words of encouragement.
Over the years, we shared several media platforms where we collaborated together; including but not limited to Essence Festival, McDonald’s Celebration Gospel Tour and BET Who’s who in Memphis panel just to name a few. Xclusive Memphis has previously been nominated and awarded by Bernal and The New Tri-State Defender in several ‘Best in Black’ award categories.
On Friday, hundreds gathered into Mt. Vernon church in Westwood to bid farewell to the beloved Smith. Tears, laughter, and smiles filled the building as loved ones shared stories of this great man.
Third Street Traffic was at a standstill after the processional. It was clear that a giant had fallen and the city was there to grab ahold and honor his great name.
Bernal was loved by many and was a man who was all about Memphis.
I literally lost count of the number of recognizable faces and local leaders that were in attendance for the celebration. It was truly a sad day for Memphis. Memphis loved Bernal and Bernal loved Memphis. Mourners traveled from as far away as Washington, D.C.. to say goodbye one last time. Proclamations were presented to honor Smith. I have no official count, however the number had to be close to 15. In addition, there was also a Bernal E. Smith II memorial scholarship for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications or journalism at any Memphis area college.
He and his wife Towanda have three children Brianna, 23, Bryndon 18, and Braylon 13.
To the Smith family, Thursday and Fridays out pour of love was a small token of the lives Mr. Smith touched. Thanks for sharing him with the city that he loved dearly. We will miss Bernal, but his memories will forever live in our hearts.

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