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Co-Founder of SmithBucklin Passes Away


Chicago, July 30 – William Erby Smith, Co-Founder & Chairman Emeritus of SmithBucklin Corp., died Saturday, July 24, after a brief illness. He was 90. Smith co-founded SmithBucklin in 1949 and grew the firm into the largest association management company in the nation. Today, SmithBucklin manages more than 40  trade shows, 1,500 meetings and 150 trade associations and technology user groups. Smith also served five years as Chairman of the Chicago Tourism Council and worked with three different mayors.

Smith was the Executive Director of the Popcorn Institute, SmithBucklin’s first client, and the Popcorn Board until the time of his death. He received numerous awards, including the Association Trends Association Executive of the Year, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation Man of the Year, and the ASAE Lifetime Achievement Award. The International Association of Association Management Companies (IAAMC) will present the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award to Smith posthumously next month.

He was a lifetime member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau. An active conservationist and member of the Sierra Club, he and his brother, Mark P. Smith, maintain a 500-acre forest and wildlife preserve on the shores of Lake Michigan near Saugatuck, MI.

For more information, reach Jonathan Lurie, VP, Corporate Marketing, SmithBucklin, at (312) 321-6829 or

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