On the passing of our Friend and Brother, Dave Smith

It is with great sadness that we write to let you know of the passing of our colleague, friend, and brother, Dave Smith.

Many of you will have known and interacted with Dave given his long and passionate career with the United Food and Commercial Workers. Dave’s commitment to championing the cause of working people and his unending efforts to improve our members’ lives impacted more people than we can ever truly know.

As time goes by and word of Dave’s passing is learned by those who knew him, we have watched with both heartache and pride as countless stories emerge about how Dave Smith inspired a generation of labour activists who form the bedrock of our local union and Alberta’s labour movement.

Dave started out as a cashier in the Banff Safeway but quickly found the path that would lead him to the calling of trade unionism. Always an earnest advocate for everyday people, Dave quickly became involved in his union and went on to work for UFCW Canada as a National Representative.

Eventually, Dave found a home here with Local 401. We often describe Local 401 as a fighting union. The fire in Dave’s belly that drove him to seek justice and equity for all people and his dogged determination to create a better world made him a natural fit for our local union.

In his time at Local 401, Dave not only won countless victories for our members but sought to empower them to win victories for each other through his excitement for moving working people to become involved in politics at all levels. Dave’s easy smile, steady hand, and assuring voice helped to break down barriers for so many of our province’s most talented and effective political activists.

“Dave Smith played a critical role in helping to shape the direction of our local union,” said UFCW Local 401 President Thomas Hesse. “I worked alongside Dave for many decades and was lucky enough to call him my friend. Dave was a true champion for working people, their needs, and their values. The world is an emptier place without him in it. I often heard Dave’s mellow but unwavering voice on issues of critical importance to our members. Dave’s viewpoint and counsel were always sound and offered from the perspective of working people.”

“While I miss my friend, I will continue contributing to the calling he loved so well — building better workplaces and a better world,” concluded Hesse.

Our heart goes out to all those feeling the loss of Dave’s passing. As we take time to mourn the passing of our friend and brother, let us also remember everything he brought to our lives and celebrate those gifts when the time feels right for each of us to do so.

“We are indebted to Dave for the kindness, the compassion, and the integrity he demonstrated through the example of his life,” added Secretary Treasurer Richelle Stewart. “I can think of few people whose sincerity and humility left as powerful an impression on me as Dave Smith’s. I will carry the strength of Dave’s presence with me as I continue working toward our shared goal of a better world for working people.”

After a difficult battle with ALS, Dave passed away peacefully in his home province of Nova Scotia surrounded by his loving family on February 17, 2024.

Rest in Power, Dave

Per Dave’s wishes, click here to donate to the ALS Society of Canada.