A Montclair native and longtime community activist, Alvin Lewis Smith III died on January 5th, 2019 at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey at the age of 57.
Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson described Alvin Smith as “a titan and a warrior with a scholar’s intellect and an angel’s heart.”
Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill said “This week Montclair lost one of its favorite sons. Al Smith III embodied what is special about Montclair and its residents. Al was part of the fabric of our town, and his family has and hopefully will continue to be anchor to our community. He did not just talk about equality; he spent virtually his entire life fighting for civil rights and our less fortunate citizens. As a State Trooper, he put his life on the line everyday, so the rest of us would be safe and secure. Though we should be sad that Al is no longer with us, we have satisfaction, that his, was an life well lived.”
Alvin was born on December 18th, 1961 to Barbara and Alvin Smith Jr. The third of five siblings, they lived together on High Street in Montclair, New Jersey.
A true Montclairian, he went on to attend Nishuane Elementary School, Mount Hebron Middle School and Montclair High School where he made lifelong friends.
He attended William Patterson University for one year, before joining the New Jersey State Police. During his 25 years on the force, Alvin was instrumental in combating racial prejudice and profiling within the New Jersey State Police.
He met his wife Dolores in 1990 and the married August 25, 1991. This union produced two children: Taylor Althea and Tara Allean.
After his retirement in 2007, he continued to confront inequality by taking an active role in the Montclair community. He served as Chairman of the Montclair Civil Rights Commission and also served on the Executive Boards of The Montclair Democratic Committee, BlueWave NJ, the Montclair Grass Roots Summer Youth Program and the Montclair Little League Baseball Club.
He also continued his lifelong acquisition of knowledge by attending Essex County Community College at night and on weekends eventually moving to Thomas Edison State College, where he received his BA in Social Science in 2012.
When his wife, Dolores, received a professional opportunity in the United Kingdom, they packed up their two daughters, Taylor and Tara, and moved to Ascot, the United Kingdom for a new adventure. During his time abroad, he earned a Master of Arts in Medieval and Modern History from The University of London Royal Holloway in 2013.
A self-proclaimed “Renaissance Man” Alvin’s extracurricular interests were vast. A certified computer technician, he was also an avid golfer, reader, and lover of Cuban cigars. His research interests included the history of African-American culture, music, religion and historical figures. Before his passing, Alvin was working on his doctoral thesis titled, “The History of Gangsta’ Rap Music and the Social Construction That Made it Possible.”
His favorite place to spend time with his family and friends was Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Smith is survived by his beloved wife, Dolores, two children; Taylor and Tara, his mother; Barbara, three siblings; Merri, Sandra (James), and Robert, and a host of other relatives and friends. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Montclair Child Development Center, Inc (www.mcdcnj.org).
Funeral services will be held on Friday, Jan 11, 2019 at St. Paul Baptist Church located at 119 Elm St, Montclair. Visitation will be held from 10 to noon, with a funeral service immediately following from noon to 1 p.m.