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H.D. Smith founder dies at 87

BY David Salazar

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Henry Dale Smith, Sr., founder and former CEO of independent wholesaler H.D. Smith, has died, the company announced Monday. He was 87.

“The entire H. D. Smith family is deeply saddened by the loss of our founder and a pioneer in healthcare distribution, Henry Dale Smith,” Henry Dale Smith Jr., his eldest son and current chairman and CEO of H. D. Smith Holding Company, said. “Dad's vision and passion for ensuring that community pharmacies, hospitals, and patients are able to access the health products they need, when and how they need them, is what continues to inspire us each day. His legacy will live on, even as we mourn.”

Smith, a pharmacist by trade, started H.D. Smith in 1954, and since its founding has grown to be the fourth-largest national pharmaceutical wholesaler, the company said. Smith held the titles of the company’s CEO and chairman, most recently being the company’s chairman emeritus. His son James Christopher Smith is now the company’s CEO. Smith was also an active member of the National Wholesale Druggists Association, serving on its board from 1984-1986.

Smith received the Healthcare Distribution Management Association’s Nexus Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2003 and was active in Springfield’s Rotary Club and the city’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he was a deacon, elder and trustee and which he attended for 60 years.  

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