Christopher Smitherman was born on July 16, 1967, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father, Dr. Herbert Smitherman, was a chemist and the first African-American with a PhD hired at Procter & Gamble. His mother, Mrs. Barbara Smitherman, was a teacher and administrator at Cincinnati Public Schools. Christopher has five siblings – one sister and four brothers. Christopher and his five siblings grew up in North Avondale.
Christopher as a young child
Christopher attended St. Mark Elementary for primary school. After graduating from grade school, Christopher went on to attend the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) where he studied singing. After graduating from high school, Christopher attended The Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. It was at OSU that Christopher began a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, where he remains a paid member to this day.
Christopher as a senior at the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA)
Christopher as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha at Ohio State University
After completing his undergraduate program, Smitherman moved to Bowling Green, Ohio, to attend Bowling Green State University. Christopher studied at BGSU to obtain a master's degree in counseling. Throughout his time in college, Christopher worked as a resident advisor (RA) and, in 1990, he accepted full-time employment as a hall manager at BGSU.
It was at BGSU that Christopher met Pamela Thorton. The two began dating and soon married.
Pamela and Christopher married in 1990 and, in 1997, returned to Cincinnati and settled in North Avondale. Together, they raised five children – four boys and one girl - all products of Cincinnati Public Schools.
Christopher & Pamela with their five children
In 2009, Christopher purchased the old Bond Hill Library and relocated his financial planning office to the building located in Bond Hill, Cincinnati. As a financial planner, Christopher focuses on helping his clients gain wealth through systematic savings, life insurance, and estate planning.
On January 15, 2019 Pamela died after a two-year battle with breast cancer and an autoimmune disease. Pamela Smitherman was an educator at Cincinnati Public Schools and left behind her husband and five children.
Christopher was elected to Cincinnati City Council on November 4, 2003, as a member of the Charter Committee. During his term, Christopher focused on neighborhood improvements. He introduced legislation to pioneer regional economic cooperation via Joint Economic Development Districts (JEDD) and Cooperative Economic Development Agreements (CEDA). Christopher also worked to firm up the city's working capital fund and played a leading role in ending Fire Department brownouts.
On March 27, 2007, Smitherman was elected president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP. During his term the chapter's membership increased 600% from 500 to 3,000 members and the chapter's debt was eliminated.
Christopher with Governor DeWine
During Smitherman's time as president, the Cincinnati NAACP co-authored and co-sponsored five ballot initiatives, three of which were successful. Those initiatives that passed included defeating a county jail tax, stopping red-light cameras, and allowing voters to ratify the sale of Greater Cincinnati Water Works. In order to place these initiatives on the ballot, Smitherman helped collect more than 100,000 signatures.
Christopher ran as an Independent on a platform of balancing the budget, properly funding police and fire, and fixing the city's pension. He went on to win reelection in both 2013 and 2017. On December 13, 2017, Mayor John Cranley appointed Christopher to serve as the Vice Mayor. Cranley also appointed Smitherman to serve on the Cincinnati Planning Commission. Christopher serves as Chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee.
In the Spring of 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine appointed Christopher to serve on the State’s Minority Health Strike Force. As a member of this board, he helped craft directives to address the covid impacts on minority communities across the state.
Christopher & Pamela Smitherman with Jim & Kiah Clingman
Christopher & Pamela Smitherman with President Obama