14 Dec Jonathan Cartu Announces Dorothy A. Smith, 73, known as Dorothy Stahlnecker in real…
July 15, 1946 – Dec. 12, 2019
While Dorothy A. Smith, known throughout the real estate world as Dorothy Stahlnecker, was forging the path for women as a leader in commercial real estate, she mentored countless individuals throughout her career for the pleasure of seeing them grow.
And for nearly half that time, for the last 15 years, she endured six different kinds of cancer and more than 50 rounds of chemotherapy. A vice president for M.J. Peterson, she worked full-time until several months ago, when the disease came on strongly and took its toll.
Mrs. Smith, 73, of Amherst, died Thursday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga.
Born in Syracuse, the former Dorothy Cerio came to Western New York with her family when she was 6. A close friend of Father Abuid “Albert” Sam, she helped start the family-owned Father Sam’s Bakery in North Tonawanda.
She started M.J. Peterson’s commercial division in 1986, becoming a pioneer for women in commercial real estate in Western New York. She became personal friends with many developers and brokers in the area and created a network of supporters that helped her achieve success. She was the first woman to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western New York chapter of New York State Commercial Association of Realtors in 2012.
“She liked meeting all the people. I think she liked the excitement of creating deals and the challenge of it, and figuring out how to make deals that seemed impossible possible,” said her grandson, Gary Sam. “There weren’t many she didn’t complete. She was a pretty fierce woman in the real estate world.”
She was proud of reaching her highest career achievement in 2014, procuring the sale of an 875-unit group of multi-family properties, worth over $40 million. As a result, she received M.J. Peterson’s Largest Broker-Assisted Sales Transaction award. In accepting the award, she said, “Let this year be about you and what you want. Set your goals and let nothing stop you. Get to know everything there is to know about your business. No matter what, never give up.”
Mrs. Smith also co-authored a blog, Grammology, featuring advice about children, and trying to teach what she learned about life in general. She knew the joy of being a great-grandmother, and the heartache of losing her son, Daniel, who died when he was 17.
“Nothing is ever lost when you’re teaching. You give what you can. You try to do it in a nice way, and hope it has an impact,” she told The Buffalo News in 2008 about writing the blog.
Mrs. Smith was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, Sam said. She wrote in her blog about her disease.
“I feel like my family is the reason for wanting to fight this disease,” she wrote. “They are the air I breathe and the beating of my heart. Each one of them gives me a reason to fight to live. Living with cancer is difficult to say the least. Every day I wake up wondering what the challenge will be.”
Survivors include her husband, Joseph; a daughter, Sherry Sam; three step-children, Tracy Smith, Robin Smith and Nancy Sam; seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Services will be conducted at 10 a.m. Dec. 28 at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 1395 George Urban Blvd., Cheektowaga.