Wayman Flynn Smith III, pioneering legal professional and enterprise chief, passes at 80 | Information

Wayman Flynn Smith III, pioneering attorney and business leader, passes at 80 | News

Wayman Flynn Smith III

Wayman Flynn Smith III served as a member of the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents for 21 years and as chairman for 12 of those years (1989-2010). 

June 18, 1940 – September 15, 2020

Wayman Flynn Smith III was the precious child born to high school sweethearts Wayman F. Smith Jr. and Edythe Meaux Smith, who married after college. Wayman was named for his paternal grandfather and father who practiced real estate together. Wayman Jr. was a graduate of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, who later became the first Black Certified Public Accountant in the State of Missouri. Wayman’s mother Edythe Meaux Smith, who graduated from the University of Southern California, was the first Phi Beta Kappa in Journalism west of the Rocky Mountains.

Wayman was deeply impacted by the fact that his maternal and paternal grandfathers, both born in the late 1880s, were well educated – no small feat for the Black citizens of that era. Both grandfathers also held esteemed positions with the United States Postal Service beginning around the time of the World’s Fair in 1904 and ending upon their retirements.

Always students of critical thought, Wayman’s aunts – Thelma, Thias, Marion, Corrine, and Marvell – enjoyed intellectually sparring with him to prepare him for the world ahead. Wayman grew up among his close-knit cousins, Ali El Amir (Earl Williams), Fred Williams, Clinton Rosemond, Bertha Rosemond, and Eleanor Rosemond.

Growing up in the area where Dick Gregory and Grace Bumbry were raised, the historic Ville, Wayman attended Washington Elementary School – where he was taught by St. Louis legends and community activists such as Marian Oldham and many others who used their PhDs to teach in elementary and high school, because of the segregated public school system. Wayman’s childhood and now lifelong friends from St. Louis include Gus Stewart Sr., Martin VanLake, Byron Glore, Dr. Eugene Mitchell, Julius Hunter, Ellen Sweets, and Sheila Mosely. Wayman thrived and reveled in the support he received from his North St. Louis Community, and spent his life protecting and cultivating North and Greater St. Louis, as well as the “North St. Louis” in every American city, nationwide.

After a couple of years at Sumner High School, Wayman became one of the first students included in the St. Louis Public School system’s effort to desegregate (even before Brown v. Board of Education). As part of that plan, Wayman transferred to and graduated from then all-white Soldan High School.

After graduating from high school, Wayman attended Washington University while working as a professional photographer for the St. Louis Argus newspaper. To expand his vision, Wayman’s parents encouraged him to transfer to Monmouth College in West Long Branch, NJ, where he again faced the challenges and responsibility of integrating a predominately white school. While attending Monmouth, Wayman lived with his first cousin, Marion Meaux Robinson, and her late husband Dr. Collins Harvey Robinson III. Wayman often reminisced about his late-night debates with his cousin Harvey and how Harvey encouraged him to attend graduate school at Howard University. 

One of his father’s good friends, attorney David Cunningham, inspired Wayman to become an attorney and mentored him in that direction. With the support of his family and friends, Wayman applied to and was selected to join the Howard Law School class of 1965 – a graduating class of 10. Howard Law School was the perfect place for Wayman to come of age. The friendships that Wayman made at Howard include attorney Cornell Moore, attorney Warren H. Dawson, Matthew Whitehead, attorney Renee Brooks, the honorable Gabrielle McDonald, the honorable Ricardo Richardson and many others. These friendships were deep and lasted throughout his entire life.

Wayman helped his parents cover the costs of his education by working as an elevator operator at the United States Senate. This job allowed Wayman a front-row seat to witness and learn from political giants such as Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, during one of the most tumultuous and provocative times in our nation’s history.

Wayman’s commitment to civil rights deepened during his time in Washington, D.C. Wayman attended the 1963 March on Washington, D.C. with his godparents, Fred C. and Doris Whethers. Fred was known as the “Dean of Black politics” in St. Louis. Wayman also volunteered with the NAACP under the leadership of Pearlie Evans, on bus trips into former Confederate states to register Black citizens to vote at a time when civil rights workers were being killed by the Ku Klux Klan. 

In the 1960s the Missouri Bar was widely believed to be a racially biased exam. After passing the bar on his first attempt, Wayman landed a position with the prestigious accounting firm of Peat Marwick Mitchell and Company in New York, NY. 

Wayman’s first marriage to Jo Ann Adams began in 1965 and ended in 1983, during which time his only child, Kymberly Ann Smith, was born. 

Mentored by St. Louis attorneys nationally recognized civil rights leaders attorney Margaret Bush Wilson and attorney Frankie Muse Freeman, Smith returned to Missouri to work on housing legislation for the Missouri Commission on Human Rights in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1966. This legislation was successful in designating the real estate office as a place of public accommodation.

Nine years older than his brother Christopher Meaux Smith Sr. and 15 years older than his sister E. Robin Smith Stallworth, Wayman was always the proud and protective big brother. After his father’s death in 1968, Wayman moved back to St. Louis to support his mother and to make sure that his younger siblings pursued post-secondary education and later to support them in pursuit of their professional goals.

Upon returning to St. Louis, Wayman took over his father’s real estate and accounting firms. Once all of his father’s client accounts were settled, Wayman was ready to return to the practice of law and was honored when he was invited to partner with attorney Margaret Bush Wilson. Wayman and Margaret opened their offices on Lindell Boulevard and specialized in civil and civil rights litigation, and remained law partners until he joined the executive staff of Anheuser-Busch in 1980. In 1970, Wayman was appointed a City Court Judge, serving until 1975. Smith served on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen from 1975 to 1987 and was once president of the council’s Black Caucus. 

During his lengthy legal career, Wayman persuaded his younger brother Christopher to attend law school, pass the bar and join the practice of Wilson & Smith. Wayman and Margaret’s firm grew to include well-known attorneys who became partners of the firm including attorney Peter Wunderlich, the honorable Donald McCullin, and attorney Christopher Smith. Wayman’s younger cousin and godson, attorney Collins Robinson IV, joined the firm after Wayman had gone on to Anheuser-Busch. The firm’s reputation for professionalism and results earned them a client list that included Anheuser-Busch Corporations, Wettereau, IGA Food Stores, Missouri Pacific Railroad, Lutheran Hospital, St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District, and The City of East St. Louis. Yearning to reconnect to public service, Wayman followed in his father’s footsteps and became an alderman in the City of St. Louis, a position he held for 12 years.

Wayman’s legal wins caught the attention of August A. Busch, Jr., who offered him a consultant position after being encouraged to do so by Al Fleishman and Byron Glore. After earning a strong professional bond with the company, and as a result of the pressure on Anheuser-Busch by Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson Sr.’s Operation PUSH, August A. Busch III created and offered Wayman the position of the first Black member and vice president of Anheuser Busch’s Corporate Affairs Department. Wayman eventually became a member of the policy board of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Wayman enjoyed a meaningful relationship with the Busch family, and he leveraged that relationship to get John Jacob on the Board of Directors of Anheuser Busch Companies.  

During his 20 years with Anheuser-Busch, Wayman designed several programs to raise the profile of Black professionals and create more opportunities for Black youths. One of Wayman’s crowning achievements was a Minority Purchasing Program Initiative valued at $200 million. In the words of the late Black Enterprise magazine founder and publisher Earl Graves Sr., thanks to Wayman Anheuser-Busch has done business with every African-American, Hispanic and women-owned bank in the nation. His department raised over $160 million for the United Negro College Fund, and he founded the “Budweiser Jammin’ for Education Fund” which continues to raise funds for scholarships for urban youth.”

Wayman single-handedly diversified “the 8th Floor” of Anheuser-Busch Companies by creating unique opportunities for and hiring Black corporate professionals, including Donna Blackwell Taylor, Thelma V. Cook, Victor Julien, Louis McKinney, Donald McCullin, Floyd Lewis, Ron Smiley, and Mike Jones. Wayman also retained top management consultants including former Anheuser Busch executive Byron Glore, Fleishman Hillard executive Martha Mitchell, Christopher Smith, Irwin France, and Angela Vallot.

Wayman and his department assisted hundreds of organizations to fulfill their missions to improve the social, political, and economic standing of Black Americans, including a direct contribution to the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. and to the National Council of Negro Women to pay-off the mortgages on their respective headquarters in Washington, D.C. Wayman has also directed support of minority-owned media including minority-owned magazines, newspapers, television stations, radio stations and events across the nation including the Essence Jazz Festival, the Budweiser Superfest, The Gateway Classic and the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars.

Very passionate about the law, Wayman was an active member of the National Bar Association, Inc., and was instrumental in establishing the National Council of Minority Bar Participants. This council worked with the United States Congress to successfully advocate for the inclusion of Black lawyers, accountants, and other underrepresented professionals, to have real opportunities to work with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). 

Wayman also served on the Board of Directors of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., where he had the honor to work with and support the public service of Black congressmen and congresswomen, including many who were the original members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the House of Representatives. Wayman enjoyed especially close relationships with the Honorable U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, retired Congressman William Clay Sr., U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (originally a St. Louisan) and U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay. 

Appointed by Governor Mel Carnahan, Wayman joined the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners where he served for four years, including his service as president of that board. Acting in this capacity, Wayman worked with fellow commissioner Anne Marie Clark and supported then Police Chief Ronald Henderson in moving toward a more inclusive and socially responsible police force.

Wayman also embraced and enjoyed being a single parent to his daughter Kymberly. Because Wayman was always willing to host Kymberly’s friends, drive them to and from parties and create experiences in which they could grow, he was and is considered a “second dad” to many of Kymberly’s friends. Kymberly followed in Wayman’s footsteps and was sworn in as an attorney at law in 1992, after which she clerked for a judge, worked on Capitol Hill, served 10 years as an assistant United States attorney and now teaches law in the state of Maryland. It was a double honor when he and his daughter Kymberly were both admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Kymberly has one child, who carries Wayman’s legacy.

Upon his retirement from Anheuser-Busch, Wayman’s dear friend Earl Graves Sr. partnered with Wayman’s daughter Kymberly and his sister Robin and raised $250,000 to create The Wayman F. Smith III Scholarship Foundation. Wayman’s foundation, which continues to be managed by his daughter, works closely with Howard University and the St. Louis Chapter of the Howard Alumni Association to provide scholarships for students of Howard and Harris-Stowe Universities. Wayman’s foundation has donated over $69,000 in scholarship dollars since its inception in 2000. 

Wayman served as a member of the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents for 21 years and as chairman for 12 of those years (1989-2010). Wayman’s service to Harris-Stowe was quite personal; when Smith was a little boy, Harris was a teachers’ college for white students and Stowe, a teachers’ college for Black students, and all four of Wayman’s maternal aunts and his cousin Marion, earned their college degrees from Stowe Teachers College.

While serving on Harris-Stowe’s board, Wayman worked closely with then-president Dr. Henry Given in initiating the first major corporate sponsor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. State Celebration Commission of Missouri. During Wayman’s tenure as chairman of Harris-Stowe, the college expanded from one building and one degree to a status of university with six buildings, a new Business School campus in South St. Louis, 14 degree programs, doubled full-time faculty, and tripled student enrollment. Chairman Smith’s leadership assisted Harris-Stowe’s first major fundraising project to the level of $45 million. Chairman Wayman F. Smith III was one of the founding members of Harris-Stowe’s African American Business Leadership Council (AABLC), chaired by David Steward. The AABLC is an alliance of African-American business leaders who support the Harris-Stowe State University Business Administration program with their personal resources and business know-how. The AABLC raised more than $400,000 in scholarships for business school students.

Wayman also served as a member of the board of directors of Howard University from 1989, and which he chaired from 1991-1995. Wayman remained on Howard’s Board of Directors throughout his lifetime, eventually becoming Chairman Emeritus. 

Upon his retirement, Chairman Wayman F. Smith III was presented an Honorary Doctorate Degrees by both Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents and the Howard University Board of Directors.

Wayman met Susan Haynes Arceneaux at a charitable fundraising event, “Men Who Cook.”  Over the next few years, this friendship turned to courtship and the two became one in Christ on March 12, 2010. Susan and Wayman were inseparable and enjoyed the close bond and love that they shared until his death on September 15, 2020.

Wayman leaves his wife Susan Smith, sister Robin Smith Stallworth (Isaac Stallworth), daughter Kymberly Smith Jackson (Charles E. Jackson, Sr.), grandchildren E. Victoria Meaux Jackson, Chaley Rose Jackson, and Charles E. Jackson, Jr., nephew Christopher Meaux Smith II, niece Shannon Serre Smith; sisters-in-law Sharon Smith, Rosalind Haynes Davis (Lionel); Nancy Thompson (Victor Thompson) and Angela Haynes (Kenny); and godchildren Collins H. Robinson IV, Michael Roberts Jr., Jeanne Johnson, Steve Roberts Jr., Christian Roberts, and Darcie Roberts. 

 Wayman F. Smith III was a member of numerous civic board memberships and social organizations which include: the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.; National Urban League; National Association of Sickle Cell Disease, Inc.; St. Louis Symphony; St. Louis Leadership Council, and St. Louis Metropolitan YMCA, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, The Masons (33 1/3 Degree), The Boule, The Guardsmen. Wayman was also listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Black America. Smith held memberships in the American Bar Association, Missouri, Mound City, and National Bar Association, Missouri Chapter.