Cover photo for Dow Cleghorn Smith's Obituary
Dow Cleghorn Smith Profile Photo
1940 Dow 2024

Dow Cleghorn Smith

1940 — April 2, 2024

Dow Cleghorn Smith, 83, passed away peacefully on April 2nd at Albany Medical Center. He was born on June 23, 1940 in San Francisco, CA, to Yancey and Elizabeth Smith. He was predeceased by his sister, Harriet. He is survived by his wife Bonnie, his sons, Neal and Matthew, and his daughters, Elizabeth and Pauline, and his grandchildren, Abigail, Rachel, Emma, and Thomas, and his brother, Yancey.

Dow grew up in the San Francisco area with a deep love of cars. One of his first jobs was as an attendant at a gas station, reveling in the car culture that was unique to 1950’s California. He attended University of the Pacific, where he met his wife, Bonnie. After graduation he joined the US Navy, serving in Vietnam as a public information officer and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade.

After his service, he received a Master’s Degree in Journalism Broadcast from the University of Missouri - Columbia and followed his father’s footsteps into Journalism. He began his career as a News Producer at KOVR in Sacramento. He went on to work at KPIX in San Francisco and WBBH in Chicago before becoming News Director at WPLG in Miami, where he worked with legendary anchor Ann Bishop and an exceptional reporting and producing staff. He went on to become a News Director, and later Station Manager, at WJLA in Washington, D.C. and WDIV in Detroit. In 1987 he became General Manager of WTEN in Albany, NY and later General Manager of WVTM in Birmingham, AL.

In 1995 he took his vast knowledge of television news to Syracuse University, teaching a new generation of journalists at the Newhouse School. After retiring from Newhouse, he went on to teach at Siena College, Washington and Lee University, and The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.

Dow’s lifelong love of cars led him to race tracks like Lime Rock Park, where he spent some of his happiest moments, either racing his vintage Morgan sports car or indulging his other passion, photography. While his main subject was often cars, he also loved traveling the wilds of Scotland capturing stunning landscapes with his camera.

His family will be holding private memorial service this summer. In lieu of flowers, the family requests friends and family to make a donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists, (
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dow Cleghorn Smith, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 17

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree