Earl Preston Smith
He was a graduate of Central High School in Detroit and soon after served his country as a private, first class, in the United States Army. Earl was part of the Third Infantry Division stationed in Germany. Having been taught to box by both his father and his Uncle Ted, Earl represented his division and won the title of Welterweight Champion in the 3rd Infantry Division.
Upon completing his tour of duty to the U.S. Army, he joined The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 58 where he worked successfully as a master journeyman electrician for 42 years. He was one of the first six Black men to join the electrical workers union. During a time when African American attendance had to be voted in, Earl suffered a host of racial discriminatory pranks, abuse and ridicule. One included being thrown across a room, twice, due to other workers deliberately powering wires while he was working. This did not discourage him, but rather encouraged him to press forward. Once, he was given an assignment deemed “impossible” to complete for the purpose of having him fired. He completed the job. As a result, he was transferred.
Earl graduated to becoming a 13-year foreman for Shaw Electric, 10-year foreman for Ray Electric and a General Foreman over many other large projects, simultaneously. He was also the only worker designated to layout the entire waste water treatment project. He retired during foremanship with Shaw Electric. Over 200 people gathered in his honor for his retirement dinner.
During his 42 years of electrical work, he never forgot his love for boxing. In the 1980s, he put together a team of prized fighters, who competed all divisions, for championship matches both national and abroad. By the pinnacle of his career as a boxing trainer, he and his team were invited to Nova Scotia to fight professionally.
A natural born leader, his organizational skills and marketing intuition led him into a host of different opportunities unexpected. He served as president of The Renaissance Figure Skating Club, the only all African American figure skating club to compete out of inner city Detroit. It was his drive and networking ability that allowed him to bring three Olympic Gold and Silver Medalists Figure Skaters to an ice rink where some of the children couldn’t even afford a pair of skates. During his tenure as president, membership soared from 35 to over 200. It was the very first televised broadcast of an inner-city ice show that the City of Detroit ever had.
His connections with the city simply grew from there. He began promoting and encouraging the need for more Black-owned businesses and buying real estate across the city. He and his two brothers Albert and Alvin Smith kept the tradition of black owned business growing and developing in their family through their own real-estate company “Triton Management.” Like his father, who owned a car wash, he believed in the power of family business.
Going further to develop ideas of Black-owned supermarkets, some knew him affectionately as “Earl, the Supermarket Man.” He opened a Black-owned and operated coffee shop “Coffee & Cream” on The Avenue Of Fashion on Livernois in Detroit. This coffee shop served for the purpose of entertainment with open mics, live bands and meeting rooms as well as a place to study or enjoy simple relaxation.
It was during this time when Earl was first diagnosed with cancer. Not being a person to give up and throw in the towel he began to fight. When doctors gave him six months to live, he decided to continue working and go another 14 years. Under the study of Dr. Hulda Clark, he devoted his life and lifestyle to a better diet, exercise and environmental comfort. He even replaced the copper pipes in the walls of his home to clear the contamination of his drinking water.
Educating himself on the disease gave him purpose, testimony and his next business venture. Earl began the nonprofit organization The Cure For All Cancers, LLC after beating prostate cancer twice and colon cancer once.
He became a regular guest on Comcast TV33 in Highland Park promoting health and nutrition on other shows as well as buying time slots for his own. This led to a growing reputation in the community through radio and television broadcasts, motivational speaking at libraries, churches, business conferences and seminars. People in and out of the country have testified to cancer prevention with the help and assistance of Mr. Earl Preston Smith. Being a man who oftentimes put other’s medical conditions before his own, he sacrificed his time and money to ship herbs to perfect strangers, giving them hope, prayer and encouragement.
After a 14-year battle with his own cancer fight, he won and became cancer free. Having eliminated the cancers in his body through prayer, holistic treatment, a change in lifestyle and regular doctor checkups he unfortunately succumbed to a bought of pneumonia. Family members who were close to him testify that after having gone through so much to win, he was simply tired.
Earl Preston Smith was also a husband and a father. On Sept. 9, 1978 he married Barbara Jacobs. Out of this union came two children, Lisa and Robert. From a previous marriage came four children, Stephanie, Jamillah, Ernestine and Earl.
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Barbara Jacobs Smith; his six children, four grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews.
Earl was a born-again Christian and a member of Broadstreet Presbyterian Church. A man most described as a “people’s person.” His favorite actor was Denzel Washington, and his favorite ice cream was butter pecan. His favorite singer was Tina Turner, and his favorite color was brown. He loved driving in all the car shows in his light green 1959 Chrysler Imperial Crown, winning trophies and lived to see a Bkack president. He never went to bed with dishes in the sink and even answered his phone during the movie, while in the theater. He offered every visitor a glass of his homemade green juice and dropped everything when he heard someone needed help with their health.
Right now, Earl Preston Smith is starting businesses, doing seminars, training prized fighters, serving in God’s army and repairing electrical sockets … in the Kingdom of Heaven.