A native of Huntsville, Texas, Wilbur Smither spent a lifetime serving and working with others, sharing his vision and inspiring others in creative ways. After receiving his MBA from Southern Methodist University, he became a partner at Arthur Andersen & Co. In 1978, he married Martha whom he had met at AA & Co. In the 1980’s, he joined the board of The Winston School (for children with learning differences), where he served as the second Board Chair for five years and continued his involvement until his death.
In the late 1990’s, he joined Blockbuster Video soon after its start-up as Chief Information Officer and was instrumental in its expansion from 200 to 3,400 stores in three years. Later Wilbur took his talents to Mary Kay Cosmetics in the same capacity and finally moved to IBM to manage the Y2K practice in the southwest region. He retired from IBM in 2000 when he and wife Martha added Hot Springs Village as one of their favorite places.
Upon arrival in HSV, Wilbur played golf as often as possible. He gradually became involved in many Village activities and causes. He joined the Research and Special Projects Committee in 2007, and helped persuade the POA board and management to address the need for strategic planning. He led the process over an 18 month period, involved many in the community and culminated in its adoption in late 2010. The same year, he joined the Ad Hoc Assessment Campaign team that led to its successful passage. He served as Chair of the RASP Committee for three years and remained a part of that team, subsequently. Wilbur and Martha received the President’s Award from the POA Board in 2012, for their contributions to the community. He joined the Board of the Friends of the Village in 2007, and served as President for the last three years. Personally, he worked diligently to find volunteers to work on POA issues and committees and potential candidates for the POA Board with an eye toward drawing newer residents into the process.
Inspired by the SMU Tate Lecture Series, Wilbur began an effort in 2012 to bring the same type of program to Hot Springs Village. Thus was born the Ouachita Speaker Series, which hosts, each season, six speakers who engage the audience on a wide variety of topics. His vision was to bring stimulating, provocative and thought provoking speakers to the Village for people to enjoy, be inspired by and to create a time for lively interaction between speaker and Villagers. He considered the speaker series as different and complementary to the many other cultural and entertainment activities the Village has to offer.
Following the loss of founder Wilbur Smither, Tom’s leadership continued to bring in engaging speakers. He truly believed that excellent communication would lead to greater understanding and harmonious neighbors.