A late Charleston businessman is being remembered for his enthusiasm for life and his contributions to the Kanawha Valley.
Isaac “Ike” Smith IV, a retired banker and land company executive, died June 22 at age 89.
Smith grew up in Kanawha City and graduated from Charleston High School, Washington and Lee University and the Washington and Lee School of Law, according to his obituary.
He joined Kanawha Banking & Trust Company in 1960 before advancing to president and CEO of KB&T and Intermountain Bankshares, Inc. in 1982. In 1986, KB&T was acquired by United Bankshares, Inc. and became an office of United Bank.
Richard Adams, chairman and CEO of United Bankshares, worked with Smith to merge the two companies.
Smith was “one of the greatest people I’ve ever known. A tremendous personality,” Adams said. “People loved Ike Smith. I told him when he retired that he could have his office on the third floor of the United Bank building as long as he liked.”
The office is still there, filled with memorabilia from Smith, Adams said.”I think that demonstrates the respect I have for Ike and his entire family,” he said.
Smith served as president of United Bank and United Bankshares, Inc. After his retirement, he continued as an emeritus director of United Bankshares, Inc.
D.F. Mock, United Bank’s regional president of West Virginia Markets, said he met Smith early in his career. When Mock relocated to the Charleston market in 2015, Smith took an interest in helping Mock become acclimated into the business community by introducing him to civic clubs and organizations, he said.
“He proposed me for membership into the Rotary Club of Charleston and recommended me for nomination to the board of directors of the West Virginia Humanities Council,” Mock said in a written statement. “I will always cherish the kind, heartfelt message he shared with the Rotary Club when he introduced me as a new member. I am grateful of our conversations as he reflected on the history of the banking industry in the Kanawha Valley and I value the wisdom he shared with me on the importance of community involvement and service. I admired his caring spirit, selflessness and ability to make you feel good. He truly had a meaningful positive impact on many individuals throughout his life.”
In addition to banking, Smith managed four family real estate and land development companies — Kanawha City Company, West Virginia Coal Land Company, Kanawha Company, and Roxalana Land Company, which merged to form Kanawha-Roxalana Company in 2000. He was president and CEO of the company until he retired in 2017.
Smith’s son, Lyle Smith, worked with him in real estate and in banking.
“I learned more about evaluating and appreciating people than I did about evaluating balance sheets and income statements,” Lyle Smith said. He said his dad had the ability to see good in other people and build off it, instead of dwelling on the negative.
Lyle Smith said his father loved all of the activities he was involved with.
“He was a guy that had been a lot of things and had a long life,” Lyle Smith said. “He was so enthusiastic and so passionate about everything he did ... all the activities he did he did with a lot of passion and enthusiasm.”
He also loved his church, Kanawha United Presbyterian, his daughter, Lisa Smith said.
“He was the most enthusiastic person, with a keen interest and an intense joy in what he loved, and he loved a lot of things,” Lisa Smith said. “He loved his family and his friends. He loved Charleston and the Kanawha Valley so much, and the state of West Virginia. He proudly shared a birth with West Virginia on June 20.”
Among his many accolades, Ike Smith was the 1990 recipient of YMCA’s Spirit of the Valley Award. He received the Charleston Renaissance Corporation “Volunteer of the Year Award” in 2000. He and his wife, Stuart, were the recipients of the 2020 “Good Scouter” award by the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Smith also served in various roles for several community and business organizations, including Rotary International, Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Urban Renewal Authority and West Virginia Humanities Council, among others. He was trustee emeritus of the board of trustees for Washington and Lee and the University of Charleston.
Brad Ritchie, president of Summit Community Bank, worked with Smith earlier in his career when Ritchie was market president at United Bank. Ritchie said in the 11 years he worked for Smith, he asked more about what ways they were helping charities than he did about how much money they made.
“What I will remember is Ike had a unique ability to only see the good in people,” Ritchie said. “And not only see the good, he would magnify the good.”
A memorial service for Smith is planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Kanawha United Presbyterian Church in Charleston.