Jeri Smith passed away on Feb. 23, 2021, leaving behind her larger-than-life personality and passion for seeking out the newest and best — always on a quest for the next best thing, while never forgetting those she loved.
Born on Sept. 22, 1952, in Phoenix, she enjoyed watching iconic mid-century Phoenix buildings being created as she grew up. The most notable of these buildings was her father’s, Norman Smith, Tower Liquor, a first-of-its-kind drive-thru liquor store in Phoenix, which embraced the unique Phoenix mid-century design esthetic. Jeri attended Central High School in Phoenix, graduating in 1970, and the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she met her beloved husband, Bruce Smith. Jeri transferred to Arizona State University, where she graduated in 1974. Jeri and Bruce married that year and moved to New York City, where they started Bruce Smith, Ltd. as equal partners — a diamond dealer and wholesaler doing business throughout the world. Headquartered in Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan, they specialized in loose stones and colored diamonds called “fancies.”
Jeri will always be remembered as a maven (an expert and connoisseur) of culture, dining, art, theater and personal advice, whose running commentaries on these interests, as well as issues of the day, were always imbued with New York-style sophistication and satire. Old friends from Phoenix would ask Jeri for the best new places to go in Phoenix, and Jeri always knew even though she hadn’t lived there in over 45 years.
Jeri and Bruce enjoyed a wonderful 47-year marriage, one that Bruce believes was bashert, Yiddish for God bringing two people together as destiny. Jeri and Bruce enjoyed the best of New York’s culture, travels around the world, lifelong friends, and growing up and being together for five decades. Since losing Jeri, Bruce observed, “Jeri was loving and kind, strong and sensitive, and made my life incredible both as my wife and life partner, and as my business partner. My love for her and her love and understanding for me are eternal.”
Jeri was predeceased by her parents Norman and Fern Satin of Phoenix and is survived by her husband Bruce Smith. A private service was held in her memory in Scottsdale.