It’s been an honor and privilege to call myself a teammate of yours the past three years.

Have a great retirement…and may you always flop the nuts! Chuck Darrow Nobody represents the best journalistic traits better than Elmer Smith — as long as you don’t count losing company credit cards. He still believes in being fair, in finding the humanity beneath the surface of any individual and in resisting — at all costs — the temptation to simply be one of the pack. Zachary Stalberg Dear Elmer, I will never, ever forgot our crazy, silly editorial board meetings in the Aregood era, and your and Rich’s fondness for telling certain kinds of jokes long before Rick Santorum got into the act. (I will elaborate here given your current venerable status as an elder statesman and role model.) And all the hours I spent standing in your office with our conversations careening over several topics, often very far afield from where we started and my deadline approaching. We did have fun, didn’t we? Here’s to a great next chapter for all of us. Love, Carol Towarnicky

The last time we talked, the conversation was all about life after the incredible rush of news stories & deadlines. “What will it be like for me,” you mused a year ago as you considered the notion of retirement? A grand adventure awaits!, but I will miss your one-ofkind-take on life as we know it. Helen Blue It’s been a pleasure working with you over the years. I respect your honesty, integrity, and brilliant writing. I enjoyed your teaching moments in all of your columns. I always had something to think & debate about in our office. You’re definitely going to be missed. Darisha K. Miller One way to judge a person is by the friends he or she keeps. You’ve got an impressive lot of the best journalists in our city as friends and admirers. Count me in as one of those admiring your work and integrity for many years. Todd Bernstein Tears would be certainly appropriate Elmer, but boxers don’t cry. They nod their heads up and down slightly, but noticeably, in admiration of a job not only well done, but damn near the best there ever was … I will only say, “I love you, Mr. Brother.” You are an awesome role model. God bless you, my Black, smiling, intelligent, thoughtful and funny-as-hell Mentor, Elmer Smith, the one and only! Garry D. Howard A voice that will be much missed. Best wishes for many more productive years, on your own terms. Lucia Herndon Horning

Congratulations Elmer on your retirement after a long and wonderful career in newspaper journalism in Philadelphia. Your voice will be missed from the pages of the Philadelphia Daily News but I know you still have many stories to tell and we will continue to hear from you. Your voice has a made a difference in the lives of many people in the region. Your legacy will continue to live on. All the best to you in the next chapter of your life. Sandra Long Weaver I thank God for our friendship and for you, Elmer. You have been a trusted friend, mentor, advisor and counselor. I will always cherish and fondly remember our engaging lunch chats about everything under the sun! I will not only miss your daily presence in my life, but your even bigger presence in the Daily News. You have blazed a big trail for others to follow, and for that I said thank you and God’s speed, my friend! Melanie Burney Dear Elmer, Thanks for being the “Godfather” of the Daily News offering your wisdom and counsel to all the other staffers who sought your advice over the years. The place just isn’t the same without you. Valerie Russ First, let me say “God is indeed good.” It’s amazing how He orchestrates our lives and brings special people into them. You have truly helped me in more ways than you can imagine, and all I can say is may the Lord continue to bless you and grant you much success in your “new” career. Your brother in Christ, Lorenzo Biggs

When only the best will do, there’s Mr. Smith. Bobbi Booker Elmer retiring? Isn’t that illegal? Karen E. Quinones Miller As Elmer leaves any room, someone either says or thinks there goes a classy, kind man. The big sendoff is simply on a bigger stage but the usual sentiment prevails about a decent man who can also write. Drew McQuade Elmer, I’ve always been a fan of yours from afar ... as a man who walks with such grace and goodness. Your lovely, infectious smile always leads the way. Someone once said, “You may not always remember what a person said, or what a person did, but you will ALWAYS remember how a person made you feel.” I have fond memories of our brief encounters. May the Good Lord guide and protect you as you enter this new chapter of your life. Marilynn Bailey Elmer is one of the businesses’ real tough guys with a heart of a gold and a mind that won’t quit. He’s pretty funny too! Cynthia Burton

Elmer, you will always be my rabbi. For those who need a refresher in Philly-political parlance, you were my mentor, go-to guy and occasional guardian for my decade on the religion beat (which was intertwined with politics, of course) at the Daily News. I cherished, and readers unknowingly benefitted from, your roadmap, story ideas, religiouscultural background/perspective, the landmines, heroes and trends in the African American church community. You pointed me toward a prominent church that pulls back the curtain on an altar baptismal tank at Easter sunrise - a great feature that was ho-hum to many Baptists and an astonishing look-in for almost all other readers. And the subtexts of Good Friday “Last Words” preaching contests. Or church community heroes that never got any notice. Cityside the African American pulpit has never been far from the ballot box m— you pointed me toward the important stuff, the non-obvious alliances, the deals and the pure social justice too. Those were the days, my friend, and these are the new days, the good days. Shalom, Ron Goldwyn

Big thanks to you always Elmer, for being an incredible role model, believing in me and teaching my daughters that a dream like Santa Claus comes in all colors. They still talk about sitting on your knee at the Daily News and making their Xmas wishes. Yvonne Latty
Thanks, Elmer, for everything — especially for playing Santa Claus all those years. Now, it’s really time to have some fun, especially with a job well done. — Your Trusted “Elf ” Todd Beamon

Best of luck in your retirements. Sylvester M. Johnson Speechless. How much your voice will be missed can’t be put into words. Your love for the paper and the city it represents has always been visible in your actions and your columns. Keep your passion alive. Darlene Brindle Waties Retire? You’ve got to be kidding. All this must mean is that you’ll opine and spew wherever the heck you want, whenever the heck you want about whatever the heck you want, ... Oh, my, I guess that’s what you’ve been doing these many years, eh? Enjoy, my good brother. I hope to sit out in the shade, in the sun and maybe watching a cool rain as I discuss and debate and just listen to your lucid ramblings. Will Sutton Wow Elmer. I’m happy for you but really sad for us. A big loss for the DN. Congrats Wendy Ruderman Moser Always a class act, and he’s retiring? He looks 50. I should be retiring. Take me with you, Elmer. Steve Lopez As a reader first and an editor second, one of the greatest pleasures of my job was editing Elmer’s column. It is a joy to read. It is the work of a true craftsman, always thought-provoking and, not to be overlooked, often quite funny. He can do serious, he can do funny, he can do emotion. What he can’t do is boring. Gar Joseph

I’m soooooo sad and this news is unthinkable … I wish Elmer well as I know he’ll continue to inspire and enlighten everywhere he goes along his future path, yet I can’t imagine the Daily News without my big brother Elmer … you are an amazing source of inspiration. A calm in the storm. I love our long talks at lunch and in the middle of the newsroom. It’s as if the world stops when you drop your knowledge. Sarah J. Glover A rock-solid colleague, friend and mentor. Al Hunter Jr. Elmer will definitely be missed, but at the same time, he has done his job as a journalist with distinction, class and wisdom. I know there are bigger and better things in the future. The Phillies and Sixers games will not be the same without talking to Elmer. I consider him a mentor. Chris Murray I can’t wait for his next chapter, the next step in the journey, the next rung of life’s ladder. After conquering one mountain, you should go after the next! How many metaphors can I use in one post? Far fewer than the adjectives I could fling his way. Rochelle Riley Elmer isn’t the ‘retiring’ type. I’ll be interested in seeing what his next venture will be. Jackie Jones

Sounds as though you are set for a lot of new adventures, Elmer! Have fun in your retirement … you’ve earned it. Denise Cowie In my days at the Daily News, I always knew where I should go for insights on all things Philadelphia. Thanks for all of that Elmer. I know the paper will miss you a whole lot. Dave Warner As a fellow ex-boxing writer and current columnist, I have long looked up to Elmer, read his work and learned many things from him. I know he won’t disappear from the scene, so I’ll be looking to see where his work will end up. David Squires Still hard to believe. Truly the end of an era, for the DN and Philly. Who will speak truth to power? Nia Wedobigthings Meeks So happy that Elmer can retire while he is still one of the best reporters in the city. Robert Mendelsohn And I wonder what’s next … what he’s been dreaming of doing after his newspaper stint. Often retire is an invitation to retread and redirect. Denise James

Elmer, At ringside, courtside and curbside, you set the highest standard, my man. Thanks for sharing your incredible wisdom through unforgettable columns and across the lunch table. Vernon Clark You, Mr. Smith, were one of the first beacons of talent, integrity and class that confirmed I had chosen the right profession. Your passion, strength and good humor continued to show me the way as I navigated my own journey — as it clearly did for many, many others. Thank you for being a light in our lives, one that still shines. Roy S. Johnson Philadelphia will be not quite as great without your great columns, Elmer. Best wishes to you in whatever comes next. Carolyn Davis This is a fitting tribute to a man whose wisdom made a difference in uncounted lives, including mine. You are always my treasured friend even as both our lives change. Heaven knows we’ve come through some changes together already. Bless you. Richard Aregood Elmer Smith, a role model from my first day in the business until what will be his last and well beyond. A lot of things change over a career. Mr. Smith has been a constant. You’ve earned the respect of kings and the admiration of us regular folk. Congratulations on Jobs Well Done. Neal Scarbrough

Congratulations and thank you, Elmer, for all you have done for us. I am proud and glad to say I have had the opportunity to know you. Kevin L. Carter Mentor, writer, community leader, NABJ anchor, radio broadcaster, civic mover and shaker, father, husband, friend and Journalist. When I think about all you have been to me and thousands of others in our market Elmer, these are only a few of the key words that come to mind. I remember your support of my early days at WHAT and WDAS. I remember your supportive words when Lisa and I returned from Sen. Hughes’ wedding. And all the insightful, powerful and compelling columns you gave us in the Daily News. As you make your move to retire from the daily grind, I want to express my thanks and admiration to all you have given our community over so many amazing years. Elmer, job well done! E Steven Collins Congrats Elmer. I am proud that during my journey I had the pleasure of working two years at the Daily News with you. John C White Wow! Seems like only yesterday when we were young turks on the NABJ board. Congrats on a long and successful career. Hope to see you and your book in the Authors Showcase in New Orleans. Douglas C. Lyons Kudos for a job well done, Elmer. Walking away on your own terms? You’ve offered us yet another example of how to be a great role model. Congratulations! Jarrett Bell

Elmer as one retiree to another I am finding that I am able to work only on books and articles that fully reflex my personal feelings. It is a great feeling to be accountable only to you! Hopefully, you will teach the next generation at one of your local universities on a part time bases. However, I hope I see you at another Trotter Group meeting for I will greatly miss our discussions where I have learned a great deal from you. Sherman N. Miller Yo Elmer! Leaving so soon!? May you and Mary Ann find nothing but good times ahead. Linda Wright Moore Elmer, congrats on a stellar career! We are looking forward to what is ahead in the next chapter of your life. Onward! NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr. Without an Elmer Smith there would be no Solomon Jones. Seeing your face in the paper growing up let me know what was possible for me. Learning what you overcame let me know what I could achieve. Arguing with you about NABJ convinced me to join. May you inspire as many young writers in your retirement as you did during your career. Thank you for making excellence the standard. I know we can look forward to hearing great things from you for years to come. Solomon Jones Yo, Elmer, you deserve good things in retirement. May there be many. James M. Naughton

Somebody better get caught up with their sports talk, because I’m going to need someone to vent to about the Eagles/ Sixers/&Phillies! Tom Pierson Elmer...what can one say! A storied and prolific career that changed hearts and minds. Good luck in the next chapter of your life! Thank you for being a wonderful example of journalistic excellence! Stephanie Arnold Yo, Elmer!! Sorry to hear that the coolest cat, and one of the smartest voices at the DN, is leaving. The paper and the newsroom won’t be the same without you.... I hope your retirement is a blast! I wish you every happiness! Xoxoxo Marianne Costantinou Congratulations Elmer! I have learned much from you in very brief encounters with the Trotter Group. Your wisdom leaps out, and I am enormously enriched by having sat in an airport talking while waiting for a flight...about the “Sweet Science,” about the value of “a Life Well Lived,” even about staying happily married. The very, very best to you Elmer Askia Muhammad Elmer, You have always been a warm and gracious individual. As you delve into the next phase of your amazing life, I am positive that you will do so with the same excellence that you have demonstrated thus far! All the best to an inspirational human being! Dyana R. Williams

The best thing about Elmer is his style, his ability to tell a story. No, wait! The best thing about Elmer is his collegiality to everyone. No, wait! The best thing about Elmer is his amazingly diverse background, creating his unique point of view. No, wait! The best thing about Elmer is his humanity. No, wait! The best thing about Elmer is his ability to surprise, to take an unexpected position. No, wait! The best thing about Elmer is … he’s Elmer — a true friend, an honest journalist, a patient teacher, a vivid writer, a magnetic north personality. Stu Bykofsky Irreplaceable is the only word that comes to mind. Elmer’s voice shapes the city and our understanding of it, no matter what he is writing about. Stephan Salisbury Congrats Elmer. The best is yet to come. Monroe Anderson Well done, Elmer. From start to finish, you have been a class act. I’ve never told you, but my time in the bureau with you and Joe Davidson was a great influence on me as a journalist. Thirty years on, I still remember it fondly. Chris Hepp Your column gave a sense of balance in our approach to both understand and respond best to the issues of our day. Thank you for keeping a cool head when some of us may have been losing ours. (smile) My hope for you is the best. Maybe a book is in the plans. Minister Rodney Muhammad

Congratulations Elmer! When we met 30 years ago at NABJ-Louisville, you was transitioning from the shuttered Philadelphia Bulletin. You did the “transformation” thing before it became the 21st century career buzzword. Enjoy the new journey [ain’t calling this retirement]. Wayne Dawkins Congratulations, Elmer, and happy retirement. Thanks for your kindness all those years ago. Sarah Freligh I want to be just like you when I grow up. Congratulations and I hope to join you soon. Michael Bruton Congratulations, Elmer, on your retirement and thanks for all your contributions to the newspaper profession. We’ll miss you. All the best, from a fellow former columnist and Trotterite. Tannette Johnson-Elie I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without your guidance along the way. You’ve been a true inspiration to me in my career and my life. Love you to pieces! Stacy Julien Oh, Elmer, Congratulations! Are you gonna be Out of Your Mind some more, now that you’re being let out of the corral? I hope so. Talk about Santa Claus: just look at all the straight-up truth told so well! Lorene Cary It will mark the end of an era. Jenice Armstrong

Elmer, you have been a teacher for many of us with the excellence you’ve displayed as a writer and with how you’ve handled yourself over the years. Thank you for mentoring so many of us along the way. David Aldridge Elmer, thank you for being a mentor and friend. Your retirement will leave a huge void. Thank you for all you have done! Celeste Whittaker Congratulations, Elmer. I can’t wait to see where your new found freedom takes you! Tonyaa Weathersbee When I was a journalism major at Temple University in the ‘80s, I wanted to be the “next Elmer Smith.” Truth is, Elmer is one of a kind. You will be missed. Thanks for raising the bar for excellence!! Ray Jones Looking forward to the next chapter! Mary C. Curtis Elmer, congratulations! I recall playing pool with you in Seoul, Korea during the 1988 Summer Olympics and having dinner with you a few years ago in Atlanta. In each case (and all others), the conversation was always fun and learning for me. Thank you — for the friendship, wisdom and journalism excellence for a LONG time!!! Curtis Bunn

Congratulations, Elmer. You definitely deserve to begin the next phase of this journey called life. Enjoy! And don’t think at all about those of us left here, toiling away.. sniff sniff ~,,~ Phil Chaplin Great my brother. Now you can join me and do some real work. (smile). Looking forward to see what you will do next. You will find out fast that our age group can’t stop working. We have to share our talent and skills. Bilal Qayyum Elmer, you are one of a kind, thanks for all you’ve done to raise the quality of journalism in Philadelphia. Dale Mezzacappa Elmer, congratulations to a pioneer and an accomplished career journalist. Enjoy! Chuck Johnson I hate to say farewell to one of the journalists I looked up to as I entered the business. You’ve defined what “role model” is. All I can do is try to be as much of one to the next generation as you were to mine. Don’t want to see you retire, but can’t wait for the retirement celebration! Thank you for everything. David Steele Elmer, congratulations on a spectacular career. Your influence on the city, on readers, on sports and on fellow journalists has been immeasurable. Hank Klibanoff I am so jealous! But you’ve earned it Elmer. Looking forward to more chats with you and learning more about your very compelling life story. Rod Hicks

Enjoy your retirement as much as you’ve enjoyed you career. You may be the best storyteller I’ve ever known and certainly one of the most thoughtful and interesting human beings. Plus, I’ve finally (almost) adapted to Facebook just to continue being your friend. All the best to you and your family as you enter this next phase of your life! Maida Odom Every city needs voices that corporately act as its conscience. Philadelphia will have too few knowledgeable voices without your column. May God continue to bless you. Harold Jackson Congratulations Elmer! Although I confess to not knowing how one retires from truth and story-telling and standing up for what’s right. Good luck with that! Mireille Grangenois What an absolutely unbelievable outpouring of support your retirement has generated. You’ve obviously touched so many people, both as a writer and as a person. Even though the writing will stop (formally anyway), the personal influence undoubtedly will not. Billy Vargus May these be the best years of your life you’ve earned it. Curly Oneal Time to do what you want when you want. Life is good. Murray Dubin Congratulations and best of luck. Do something fun. In fact, do a lot of stuff fun. Retirement ain’t bad! Glenn Proctor

Total love to my other crush. Now, how to figure out to get the benjamins to come Out East for the bash. Kathleen Shea Aregood Will hit it on the head — I’ll believe this “retirement” when I see it! More likely is you’ll simply take time to have a sip of coffee before telling it like it is. Congrats on a great, and continuing, career! Robin Washington Your retirement will be a loss for Philadelphia, but the whole city will undoubtedly join your friends in wishing you the best as you begin your next adventure. Charles Fancher Premature enter button. Glad to honor a thoughtful, yet passionate voice on the subjects we should be talking about. Elmer’s voice will be missed Loraine Ballard Morrill Unpredictable, up-front, personable and real: Elmer Smith IS Philadelphia. Best of luck, sir, it’s been a pleasure. David Lee Preston Way to go, Elmer — even though your voice will be missed. Sherry Howard Congratulations Elmer! May the Lord bless and keep you. William Macklin Congratulations, Elmer! Thanks for all the great work. You made a difference. Butch Ward Damn. First they tore down Hearts & Flowers then The Trestle Inn burned in a very suspicious fire. Then came global warming and an earthquake in Philly. Now, Elmer Smith is retiring. End of days, people. End of days. My wish for him is that he continue to write without shoes, and laugh without hesitation or remorse Joseph P. Blake Congrats! Richly deserved. Gwen Florio Dude, you slacking off already? You know you’ve got lots more to do :) Congrats on a well deserved retirement, bro! Eugene Kane Congrats Daddy!!!!! You have worked hard to earn this and you deserve it. Cheryl Smith Arnold What a loss for quality journalism in this town — truly irreplaceable. Will Bunch

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