K.K. Smith & Sons Jewelers Mourn Loss of Patriarch-Founder
By Renee Burrell
Kenneth K. Smith Sr. 86, of Clearwater's K.K. Smith & Sons Jewelers, died Wednesday, January 17, from cancer. A memorial service will be held 1 p.m., February 9, at the Heritage Bible Church in Largo, where he was a member. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, at www.thehospice.org or by phoning (727) 586-4432. Smith Sr. was a past member and board member of Senior Citizens Services of Clearwater.
He is survived by wife Hazel, sons Kenneth Jr (Janis), Norris (Sharon), four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by a son, Jerry.
Smith Sr. came to Florida from Long Island, New York. He apprenticed as a jeweler there and early in his career worked for the American Museum of Natural History, where he was asked to repair an ancient necklace linked to Egypt's Queen Cleopatra.
Smith and wife Hazel moved to Florida in 1955 and opened their Clearwater store in the Cleveland Plaza, Florida's first strip mall. While there, Smith Sr. enjoyed the friendship of druggist Jack Eckerd, who also opened a store in the plaza.
The jewelry shop was a family affair. Hazel kept the books, strung and knotted pearl strands and provided customer service. Their sons learned jewelry making, small business administration and polite customer service from their parents while growing up.
Smith retired in 1992 though his sons followed him into the profession. Sons, Ken Jr. and Norris, along with Ken Jr.'s son Jason, have been continuing the 100 year family tradition of handcrafting jewelry. Norris, a certified gemologist and Jason, a platinum specialist, presently run the shop, Smith's Custom Creations, located on Court Street. They follow Smith Sr.'s footsteps in the gold smith arts by specializing in creating one of a kind, personalized pieces for their customers.
Jason Smith said his grandfather will be missed, "Because he was such a great person, father, grandfather and goldsmith."
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