Remembering Bill Smethers

William R. Smethers (Bill), who passed away on March 31, 2017, was a visionary who conceived and implemented innovative programs for young people that other communities could only dream of having. Countless lives have been touched and hundreds if not thousands of individuals can give testimony of being touched personally by his powerful leadership, mentorship and inspirational spirit.
He was devoted to working with youth, and implemented many innovative programs to motivate them in ways that their lives were changed for the good. He founded the non-profit organization Youth Focus Inc. nearly 48 years ago to meet the needs of young people that were not being met by any other public or private entity. Bill inspired people to become involved with Youth Focus not only financially, but also through volunteering and personal commitment. All funds donated to Youth Focus, Inc. are directed to youth programming and scholastic scholarships, and more than $1 million in scholarships has been awarded to date.

Bill had a deep history at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. He served as Manager of the Fair from 1976 to 1989, when the annual Santa Clara County Fair was the 2nd largest fair in the state. He also founded the Santa Clara County Holiday Faire, Santa Clara County International Faire, Santa Clara County Harvest Fair, and the Santa Clara County Youth Expo Program. He was responsible for creating the California State Scholarship Competition Program, Youth Focus Leadership Conference, Salute to Youth Program, Youth Mentors Hall of Fame, Greater Bay Area Talent Competition, California State Talent Competition, and the Junior Ambassadors Program and Teen Ambassadors Program.

Bill was known for consistently making a difference in young people’s lives throughout our community.  He worked tirelessly to bring about positive change through educating youth and empowering them to help themselves, so that they could go on to help others. Bill Smethers was a doer, leader, friend, father, minister and manager, and he will be greatly missed.

A celebration of Bill Smether’s life will take place on Saturday, June 3 at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Road, San Jose, CA in Exposition Hall.

For more information contact Suzette Galloway at or 408-356-5391.