Recommend Joel's obituary to your friends
Joel Smilow

Obituary of Joel E. Smilow

Please share a memory of Joel to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
SOUTHPORT, CONN The family of Joel Smilow sadly announced that Mr. Smilow passed away on Sunday, October 3rd at Yale-New Haven Hospital after a short illness. Joel was born on April 29, 1933 in Washington, DC and spent his early years growing up in Chevy Chase, MD. He was the son of Anna and Leo Smilow. His father was an Attorney with the U.S. Patent Office. During World War II, the Patent Office was moved from Washington to Richmond, VA. After the War, the family moved back to Bethesda, MD. Joel graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1950 and then became a very proud and active member of the Yale Class of 1954. For the rest of his life, he was an active participant in almost anything Yale. In 1993 he was awarded the Yale Medal for outstanding service. At graduation, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy, and served on destroyers based in Norfolk, VA. He held the rank of Lieutenant J.G. at the time of his discharge. Joel then attended Harvard Business School, and graduated as a Baker Scholar in 1958. Mr. Smilow's business career started at Procter and Gamble as an Assistant Brand Manager. In 1965, he left Procter to work for Glendinning Associates, a small marketing consulting company in Westport, CT. In 1970 he was "plucked" away to soon become the CEO of International Playtex. He very successfully guided that company until he retired in 1995. Joel's interest in philanthropy had already begun, but after retirement from the business world, philanthropy became a major focus. He was involved with many diverse institutions. He gave of himself and his generosity helped countless numbers of people, in large and small ways for the betterment of society. He left a very big mark on this world and he will be missed by many. He was a member of The Blind Brook Club, Birchwood Country Club, and The Reserve and Eldorado Country Clubs in California. In his younger days, he enjoyed playing tennis and golf and continued to enjoy poker and bridge. Above all, he was a huge football fan, with the Yale Bulldogs being his most favorite teaml He belonged to the Young President's Organization (YPO) and Chief Executives Organization (CEO) and enjoyed the many friendships that he had formed. He was a longtime friend and partner of Chef Daniel Boulud. He is survived by Joan, his loving wife of 67 years; his children Rick (Debi), Bill (Kathy), and Susan; his grandchildren Charlotte, Anna, Griffin and Lexi and his brother Michael (Barbara) Smilow. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Marlene Lipman and many nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held privately. Entombment was held at Willowbrook Cemetery, 395 Main Street, Westport. The Abraham Green & Son Funeral Home of Fairfield assisted the family with the arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joel Smilow, please visit Tribute Store


Willowbrook Cemetery
395 Main Street
Westport, Connecticut, United States


Section: Wintergem Mausoleum, Row 5, Level C, Crypt No. 45
Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event
About this Event
Joel Smilow

In Loving Memory

Joel Smilow

1933 - 2021

Look inside to read what others have shared
Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.