Robert J. Smith was president of the National Meat Association in 1980 and 1981.
Robert J. Smith was president of the National Meat Association in 1980 and 1981.

Robert J. Smith, president and owner of Henry W. Stapf Inc., an East Baltimore wholesale meat packing firm, died Sept. 21 from cardiac arrest at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The Timonium resident was 79.

Robert Joseph Smith, the son of Philip B. Smith, an attorney, and his wife, Irene Kearney Smith, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on Blackburn Court and Dunkirk Road in Rodgers Forge.

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He attended Loyola Blakefield and after dropping out of Towson High School enlisted in the Navy, where he served from 1958 until 1963, when he was discharged after being injured in an artillery accident.

Mr. Smith earned his General Educational Development diploma while in the Navy and graduated from the University of Baltimore. He went to work for Henry W. Stapf Inc., a family-owned wholesale meatpacking firm that was founded in 1938. The Hargest Lane business that was known for its “Appalachian Lamb and Milk Fed Veal,” was also a purveyor of beef, pork and poultry. He had not retired at his death.

Mr. Smith served as president of the National Meat Association in 1980 and 1981.

He was an accomplished woodworker and enjoyed deep-sea fishing off Ocean City. He also was an inveterate Baltimore Colts and Ravens fan.

An enthusiastic golfer, Mr. Smith was “fond of saying, ‘I only play golf on days ending in Y,’ ” said his son, Neal McL. Smith of Owings Mills. He was a member of the Hillendale Country Club and the Country Club of Maryland.

He was a longtime active member of the Hibernian Society and for years participated in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Mr. Smith was a communicant of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St., Homeland, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 51 years, the former Gail Stapf; a daughter, Amie Aburustum of Tenafly, New Jersey; two brothers, Edward Smith of Ocean City and Paul Smith of Salisbury; and four grandchildren.

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