• Gardner Funeral Home
    Runnemede, NJ
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Richard M. Smith 1938 - 2013

Richard M. Smith

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December 28, 2014
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December 28, 2014
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July 07, 2014
Of all the teachers in my life, there was no one who influenced or inspired me more than Mr.Smith. He gave me my love of music, a sense of purpose and a self-confidence I never had before. He challenged each of us to be better singers but he also made it fun to work hard. We got to experience the rewards of all that practicing with the applause and satisfaction of a great performance. And for those of us lucky enough, we got the experience of a lifetime...to sing and tour in Europe. I will never forget him and his love of music and life. I consider myself fortunate for all the musical moments under his direction and I am so grateful for having known him.
'The Lord bless you and keep you'
Ed Benedetti -Class of '72
February 27, 2014
I'm missing you.
August 11, 2013
Smitty,
What a tremendous influence you had on my life through the choirs music program. I had the thrill of attending the Philadelphia Orchestra this year during their performances of Carmina Burana and St. Matthew's Passion which we performed during my year's in choir. It was inspiring as I remembered your dedication to our school and the excellence your sought to achieve.
Thank you.
Robin Blair Menchhofer
Class of 1975
July 31, 2013
It is so heart-warming to read these reflections on Dick by his past students. I first came to know Dick not as a student of his but rather as a colleague working in SJCDA. His reputation as a master teacher and legend in choral music education preceded him. But it was as his colleague that he taught me so much. He mentored me as a young music educator and as a leader of SJCDA. I could always turn to Dick for wisdom and insight. He was a rare gentleman of unique intellect and humor, compassion and dignity. Over time, he became that most precious of treasures, a dear and loyal friend, and in many ways a father figure to me. I will always consider him truly one of my best friends, a blessing on my life and the lives of my family. My wife, children, and I all adored him. We loved him dearly and miss him so very much. I will never forget you and all that you meant to us Dick.
July 31, 2013
Mr Smith
Thank You for bringing music into my life.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
And give you peace.
July 30, 2013
Mr. Smith,
You Sir, changed my life. Your love of music, your world outlook, your ability to put up with students' nonsense and your sense of humor will surely be missed. Rest in peace, my friend.
July 29, 2013
When he arrived at AHS, Mr. Smith was quite a change from Mr. Muschek. So young and with new ideas.

Although I left AHS after freshman year in 1962, I enjoyed being part of AHS' music programs, including recording two music albums (recorded in the auditorium) - in 1961 as part of the band accompanying the choir and in 1962 as part of the choir (see 1961 album cover photo with the young Mr. Smith, attached). I still trot out those albums to delight and amaze folks who might share my wonder that, even at that early point in his career, he pulled this together with high school musicians. I continued to be impressed at the things my classmates and subsequent students achieved with Mr. Smith's guidance and inspiration.

He also recognized that I was upset leaving AHS just as I was to start senior high, so he wrote in my yearbook that "any school would be proud to have you as a member" - words of both solace and encouragement that helped me make the transition.

After leaving AHS, and building on the foundation he helped to provide, I was able to participate in district level choir two high schools later in my senior year in PA.

Mr. Smith believed in both his abilities and ours - and he enjoyed helping us make the most of them. I learned that from him and have used it ever since when helping people learn and achieve more than they initially thought they could.

In attending the AHS Senior Farewell ceremonies on the Friday before graduation for the past 10 years, I am reminded of Mr. Smith as the senior choir members end the ceremony with "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" - to which I sing along, misty-eyed.

As many others have recalled, our lives were improved for having had the privilege to learn and laugh with Mr. Smith.
July 28, 2013
Smitty you will always have a great place in my heart that I will carry with me always. caroling. concert party, ASJ, the choir from Germany, the trip to CT, every 8th period class, every song, every smile and look of confidence on your face right before we began our first song, all the preparation that went into all the alumni concerts...your dedication and love for music, all of us and AHS will never be forgotten. The concert is over now go have some Johnny Walker Red and a smoke! rip Smitty!
July 27, 2013
I'm saddened to hear of Mr. Smiths passing. He was an amazing person, teacher and mentor. The choral world has lost a a supreme being! Blessed be..
July 27, 2013
A shadow crossed my heart when a co-worker told me of his passing. This man truly opened my eyes to world of music beyond rock & roll. I was in concert choir for five years, and will never forget the annual Christmas concerts we performed. And of course the caroling we did at the seniors houses afterwards. I also was in his Electronic Music class for three unforgettable years. He guided me in creating an actual piece of work that I still have today. You where the greatest teacher I ever had "Smitty". If any of us drive behind A building, throw him a wave, and maybe you'll hear the sound of an idling Harley Davison where he parked every day. To the coolest teacher ever.

Thank you and God bless.

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1961 AHS Choir/Band album cover
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