Jerrie Marcus Smith Dies at 86

Author and art consultant Jerrie Marcus Smith died March 31 at 86. 

The daughter of the late Neiman Marcus retailer Stanley and Mary “Billie” Cantrell Marcus graduated from the Hockaday School in 1953, then matriculated to Smith College in Northampton, Mass., where she graduated with a degree in art history in 1957, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Jerrie met Amherst College student Frederick Milton Smith II while she was at Smith College, and the two were married in 1957. They raised their five children in Dallas. 

Throughout her life, she volunteered and served as a trustee with organizations including the Junior League of Dallas, the Dallas Woman’s Club, the Dallas Zoo, Hockaday, The Episcopal School of Dallas, Smith College, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Maine, and the Archives of Women of the Southwest, an advisory board associated with SMU’s DeGolyer Library. 

While serving on the board of the Hockaday School, Jerrie introduced the green-and-white plaid cotton skirts that are still part of the student uniform.

“Jerrie Marcus Smith served as president of the Hockaday Alumnae Association from 1982 – 1983, and she served on Hockaday’s Board of Trustees from 1967 – 1976.  She supported the School as a parent volunteer during the years her daughters attended Hockaday, and she saw her twin granddaughters receive their Hockaday diplomas in 2014, the School’s Centennial Year,” said Hockaday director of alumnae relations Amy Spence. “The Hockaday School cherishes its relationship with Ms. Smith and her family, and the School is grateful for the extraordinary legacy she leaves.”

In 1974, Smith partnered with Wick Allison and Jim Atkinson in the creation of our sister publication D Magazine and coined its name. 

She started working as an art consultant in the late ‘70s, often collaborating with Dallas gallerist Murray Smither. Their clients included Locke Lord, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and many private collectors. She also served as a docent at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Jerrie was also interested in politics and in recent years joined a group dubbed The Letter Writing Family which met weekly to write to elected officials.

She and her youngest daughter, edited and published Reflection of a Man, The Photographs of Stanley Marcus in 2007, and In 2021, she wrote and published A Girl Named Carrie, The Visionary Who Created Neiman Marcus and Set the Standard for Fashion. Jerrie was awarded the 2023 Literati Award by the Friends of the SMU Libraries for that work.

“SMU Libraries was proud to honor Jerrie Marcus Smith with the 2023 Friends of SMU Libraries Literati Award. Her contributions to Dallas and retail history as an author and unofficial keeper of the histories of her family and the beloved Dallas institution Neiman Marcus, made her a perfect candidate for this award,” said Holly Jeffcoat, dean of SMU libraries. “Jerrie Marcus Smith continued the legacy of Marcus family engagement and support of the SMU Libraries. Her father, Stanley Marcus, was a central member of the Friends of SMU Libraries / Colophon and donated his personal papers and portions of his extensive collections to SMU’s DeGolyer and Bridwell libraries.”

There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m. April 10 at the Dallas Museum of Art. A reception will follow in the Atrium.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in her memory to the DeGolyer Library, SMU, to support the library’s travel grant program for visiting researchers or the Minnie Marcus Garden at the Texas Discovery Gardens.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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