Giving Back

Late Essex Fells Resident Honored with Plaque at Essex County Legends Way

County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, Jr., dedicates plaque in honor of Dr. Leon Smith with Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver, Dr. Leon Smith, Jr., and Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones. Credits: Glen Frieson

NEWARK, NJ — Late Essex Fells resident Dr. Leon Smith, a former infectious disease specialist at St. Michael's Medical Center in Newark, was recently honored by the county with a bronze memorial plaque that was placed along Essex County Legends Way alongside other community leaders who have impacted Essex County.

Essex County Legends Way, located at the Essex County Government Complex in Newark, was transformed from the former 13th Avenue on the southern side of the Essex County Hall of Records into a tree-lined promenade when the Jurors’ parking garage was opened in 2008. It now features bronze plaques recognizing people who have made significant contributions to Essex County.

“I believe there are three types of altruism in the world and the one I believe characterizes my father involves encountering strangers and giving them your all even when they cannot do anything for you,” said Smith’s son, Dr. Leon Smith, Jr. “My father believed everyone was a child of God and deserved your full attention. I know I have really big shoes to fill and I am very proud to be Leon Smith.”

Sign Up for E-News

Plaques were also dedicated to the late Balozi Harvey from South Orange, who was the director of the Essex County Office of Cultural Diversity and Affirmative Action & the Essex County Economic Development Corporation, and the late Lawrence “Lonnie” Wright from South Orange, who was a two-sport professional athlete and Director of Minority and Underrepresented Student Recruitment at UMDNJ, on that date.

“Balozi Harvey, Dr. Leon Smith and Lonnie Wright followed very different paths, but they each impacted the lives of many and made Essex County a better place,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. “They are deserving of being remembered as Essex County legends, and having their names at our government complex will remind people of their contributions.”

DiVincenzo added that Dr. Smith, who died on Dec. 19, 2016, dedicated his life to treating the sick and researching some of the most deadly diseases our society faces.

His plaque begins with a quote he is attributed to have said, which is: “I just love being a doctor. I love the challenge of solving diagnostic problems, I love tough cases — the tougher the better.”

It continues with the following:

“His father’s early death set young Leon Smith on the road to medicine, resulting in the development of a doctor with extraordinary diagnostic skills and worldwide leadership in the field of infectious disease. The son of Lebanese immigrants, he was the first in his family to attend high school. New York University and Georgetown Medical School followed. He brought all this knowledge and experience to St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark ~ where he practiced medicine for a half-century. His compassion for his neighborhood patients, mostly of little means, led him to develop the first Free Inner City Medical Clinic, Hepatitis and Leprosy clinics, and the first clinic for Fever of Unknown Origin in the country. His HIV/AIDS clinic was the first in the state and second in America, as was the in-patient AIDS Unit. With accolades and honors bestowed throughout the years, he left a personal legacy, too. A loving marriage of 54 years, four of his five children are doctors and two of his 15 grandchildren are in medical school, with more to follow. Dr. Leon G. Smith saved scores of lives, trained a multitude of physicians, and established new boundaries for medical care. Essex County is proud of him and grateful for his work.”

The plaques at “Legends Way” currently feature:

  • Major League Baseball Hall of Fame players Yogi Berra, Larry Doby and Monte Irvin;
  • John J. Clancy, who served as the first Director of the Essex County Division of Youth Services;
  • Adrian M. Foley, Jr., who served as Essex County Surrogate;
  • Samuel Brummer, owner of Hobby’s Delicatessen and veteran who landed at D-Day during World War II;
  • Cephas Bowles, longtime WBGO Executive Director; the late Larrie West Stalks, former Essex County Register;
  • Clement A. Price, Rutgers University History Professor and Newark and Essex County Historian;
  • D. Bilal Beasley, Irvington City Councilman and Essex County Freeholder;
  • Raymond Durkin, long-time Chairman of the Essex County Democratic Committee and New Jersey Democratic Party;
  • Philip Thigpen, Essex County Register and long-time Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman;
  • Thomas Durkin, a prominent Essex County attorney;
  • Lena Donaldson Griffith, a cultural arts and civil rights pioneer in Newark and Essex County;
  • Raymond Brown, a civil rights leader and long-time attorney; and
  • Superior Court Justice Thomas “Timmy” McCormack, who was one of the authors of the County’s current Administrative Code and Freeholder By-Laws.

Pictured above with DiVincenzo after the plaque was unveiled are (from left) Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver, Smith's son Dr. Leon Smith, Jr., and Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Essex

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

April 20, 2018

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

Imperial Lawns - FREE Lawn Treatment

Fairfield, NJ - As a special thank you Imperial Lawns is now offering a FREE GRUB CONTROL TREATMENT when you sign-up for a full season 5-Application lawn care program. Call 973-882-7598 or visit and enter the word: SPRING in the Special "Discount Section" of the online Form to receive this great offer. 

ACT ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

MAX Challenge of West Orange - 2 Weeks FREE and more...

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The MAX Challenge of West Orange is about to start its next challenge.  Sign up before April 9, and you will receive maximum benefits, including two weeks free!



12 weeks for the price of 10
Unlimited fitness classes 
Nutritional ...

West Essex Baseball's Max Ruvo Named Athlete of the Week

April 20, 2018

NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — The West Essex High School baseball team is off to a hot start, and a major reason for it has been the play of star outfielder Max Ruvo, who has been named as TAPinto West Essex’s first Athlete of the Week for the Spring 2018 season.

“I’m just trying to do what helps the team best,” said Ruvo. “Everyone is rallying around each other ...

Man Charged With Kidnapping and Assaulting Essex County Victim

April 16, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – A New York man appeared in federal court last week to face allegations that he assaulted and kidnapped an individual who had a protection order against him, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Rudolf Szoradi, 50, is charged by four-count criminal complaint with kidnapping, transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines, interstate domestic violence and interstate ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, April 21, 10:30 AM

West Essex YMCA, Livingston

Healthy Kids Day at the West Essex YMCA

Health & Wellness


Sat, April 21, 1:00 PM

Fairfield Free Public Library
, Fairfield

Food & Fun Storytime

Arts & Entertainment Education


Sun, April 22, 2:00 PM

West Caldwell Public Library, West Caldwell Public Library

"Folk Song Hootenanny"

Arts & Entertainment

County College of Morris Performing Arts and Cultural Events Spring 2018 Season

April 18, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ — The County College of Morris is offering the following performing arts and cultural events in the spring of 2018:

APRIL 2018:

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Wednesday through Saturday, April 11-14
7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee 2 p.m. Student Community Center Dragonetti Auditorium

The Broadway Theatre is crumbling and closing! To pay homage, past ...


Nov 22, 1941 - Apr 14, 2018
Barbara Ann Barretti (nee Ernst), 76, of North Caldwell passed away on Saturday, April 14, 2018. A ...
Read more
Nov 28, 1947 - Apr 13, 2018
Barry Wachtler, 70, a lifelong resident of Fairfield, New Jersey passed away on Friday April 13, ...
Read more
Sep 8, 1940 - Apr 1, 2018
Russell Talamo, 77, of Fairfield, New Jersey, passed away early on Easter morning, Sunday, April 1, ...
Read more
- Apr 3, 2018
Obituary of Melvina Caputo Melvina C. Caputo, 82, of Caldwell, NJ, passed away on Tuesday, April ...
Read more
Jul 14, 1934 - Apr 3, 2018
Patrick Joseph Moran, 83, of North Caldwell, died on April 3, 2018. Relatives and friends are ...
Read more
Obituary of Margaret Sullivan Margaret L. Sullivan Loving Mother, Grandmother & Great ...
Read more
Jun 13, 1926 - Apr 29, 2018
Helen Manna (nee Dudnick), 91, of Fairfield, New Jersey, passed away on Thursday, March 29, 2018.
Read more
May 12, 1924 - Mar 28, 2018
Cuozzo, Rose (nee Giovinco), 93, of West Caldwell, New Jersey passed away on Wednesday, March ...
Read more
Jun 10, 1947 - Mar 21, 2018
Joseph A. Masone, Jr., 70, of Bloomfield, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. Joe ...
Read more
Oct 5, 1926 - Mar 19, 2018
Michael Tufariello Retired Entrepreneur, United States Navy Veteran, patriarch of a large, loving ...
Read more

Letter to the Editor: Don't Complain. Vote!

April 12, 2018

Don’t Complain; Vote!

It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about what’s happening in our country. It’s also true that much of politics is local. In November, 11th District residents will have the opportunity to choose a new congressional representative who will not only serve as a critical check on the federal level, but also determine how our distract fares ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...