Tom Smith, former Food Lion CEO and philanthropist, dies after short illness

Tom Smith worked for the Salisbury-based grocery store chain for years and contributed the communities in the area
Submitted photo   Former Food Lion CEO Tom Smith stands with Rowan County native Luanne Hall...
Submitted photo Former Food Lion CEO Tom Smith stands with Rowan County native Luanne Hall Welch, chief executive officer of Easterseals North Carolina & Virginia.(Salisbury Post)
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 2:42 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Former longtime CEO of Food Lion, Tom Smith, has died, according to friends of Smith.

Smith worked for the grocery store chain, which was started in Salisbury, N.C. in 1957, for decades. Ronnie Smith, son of Food Lion co-founder Wilson Smith, confirms that Tom Smith (no relation) passed away Friday after a brief illness.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our former CEO and leader Tom Smith, who played an instrumental role in the growth and success of Food Lion,” a Food Lion spokesperson told WBTV. “During his 29 years of service, he made significant contributions to the company. His dedication, hard work and passion were invaluable in propelling Food Lion forward. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues during this time. His legacy will forever be remembered and cherished within our Food Lion family.”

Smith is known for his philanthropic efforts at Catawba College, the depot in Salisbury, among other charitable efforts.

“He’s known for his long tenure with Food Lion and the impact Food Lion has made from the economic development standpoint…from a local standpoint he has been a philanthropist that has impacted our community for the most vulnerable from Rowan Helping Ministries to Salisbury depot which has his name. We could go on and on. He has made an incredible impact in our community. He will be sorely missed but his legacy will remain large,” Karen Alexander, Salisbury mayor said.

Funeral arrangements have not been completed at this time. This is a developing story.

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