It was January 8, 2012 and just like many other Sundays. I was out of town working on the 2012 Trumpet Awards and visiting with one of my dearest friends, Janay M. Smith. I’d just awakened and was talking on the phone. In walks Janay with tears in her eyes and quietly asks me to get off of the telephone. The look on her face told me so much . It was huge. Her father; humanitarian, public servant, sports enthusiast, archivist, husband and renowned trial lawyer, Jock M. Smith was unconscious and unresponsive. My stomach hurt instantly. Being ever the optimist, I tried to stay present and positive. But I couldn’t help the “what ifs” that were coming into my head.
Much to the shock and amazement of everyone who knew him, Jock was pronounced dead that morning in Montgomery, Alabama, where he resided. I cried for my friend and the pain that she and her family were experiencing. After all, we’d all just spent New Year’s Eve together at Janay’s long awaited “And 1” birthday bash, ringing in the New Year together, and ever so happy to say goodbye to a trying year. We were looking forward.
While, I’d heard about the wonderful man that Jock was from my friend and his daughter, Janay and wife Yvette, I didn’t know him as one of the nations best trial lawyers in the nation or the President of the Cochran Firm, a national surrogate for the 2008 Campaign for President Barack Obama, or the author of Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, or the lawyer who secured a $700 million settlement in the nation’s largest environmental case, or obtained a record verdict of $1.6 billion for a mother of three who was a victim of fraud or the person who received the many other accolades and recognitions that he did. From the few occasions I was blessed to spend time with him, I came to know him as funny, kind, thoughtful, astute, a family man, a great story teller, a very affectionate and loving husband, and a present father.
I did find that I thoroughly appreciated his hunger to satisfy his many interests. He was a great example to me of being able to do more than one thing. Having ventured into this journey of living my truth over the last three years, I also esteemed his commitment to being true to himself, his beliefs and his values. Men like Mr. Jock M. Smith are hard to find.
I will return to Montgomery, Alabama tomorrow to pay my respects to Jock at his Celebration of Life service on Sunday, January 15, 2012. I will wear an uncustomary color of red as a tribute to Jock, who was as colorful a dresser as fantastic a human being. There, people will gather to say their final goodbyes to Jock. From family members to dignitaries, and friends from near and far, Jock M. Smith will be remembered. And, his legacy will live on through his daughter.
I am honored to have known him. I am amazed by his life. I am better for have known him.
There is much more to read about the extraordinary life of Attorney Jock M. Smith. For more information about the life and the legacy of this astounding man, go to http://www.cochranfirm.com/attorneys/jsmith.html.
Monica Cost is an author, brand strategist, and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, brand development and expansion firm. Email her at: [email protected]. Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost. She is the author of the Live Your Truth manual “The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to live an authentic life with awesome sensations”.