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Dr. L. Allen Smith

Obituary Condolences

SMITH, Dr. L. Allen It is with great sadness that our family must inform the friends and students of the passing of Dr. L. Allen Smith of Marion, Massachusetts on Aug. 2, 2008. Dr. Smith led two distinguished careers simultaneously. He was a highly admired and capable professor at Simmons College of Boston, in the College of Library Science, for 31 years. In addition to academics, he also was a highly skilled Farrier, a shoer of horses, in the Massachusetts area. Allen was the son of Lloyd and Mary Ellen Smith of Jackson, Ohio. His pre-teen years were occupied with Cub Scouting, 4-H, kite flying, horse riding, and music. While at Jackson High School, he led "The Rhythm Kings", a well known orchestra in Southern Ohio for high school and public functions. Because of his musical abilities on the clarinet and saxophone, he was selected twice to the All Ohio Boys Band at the Ohio State Fair. It was during this time in 4-H that he began to develop his interest in parliamentary procedure and Robert's Rules of Order. His mother assisted in this endeavor to the extent that this organizing skill became a defining characteristic of his personality until his death. After high school, Allen attended Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, where he was president of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree and teaching certificate in 1963. It was also during the late 50's and early 60's Folk's Music Era that Allen began to develop his interest in the banjo and the Appalachian Dulcimer. After a short teaching period in Ohio, Allen was accepted for a Master of Library Science program at the University of Denver. It was in Denver that he met Merrill Wadsworth, an exceptional young lady from New York, and someone quite different from the "Hills of Ohio". They were to become lifelong partners. Also while in Denver, Allen studied and graduated from the Hillcraft School of Horseshoeing. As a newly married couple, Allen and Merrill moved to Urbana, Ohio, where Allen taught high school and began to build dulcimers. However, further academic ambition called, and he was accepted to a teaching position at the University of Aberystwyth, Wales, U.K. While living in a 400 year old converted grist mill, Allen taught at the university, shoed Welsh ponies, and Merrill became a well known weaver of woolen rugs. After nine years in Wales, Allen was awarded a position at Simmons College in the College of Library Science, at which he remained until his death. His courses were extremely popular with students as were his eccentricities of dress. He often combined formal bow ties with horsehair cowboy belts, bicycles, and motorcycles. It was during this time that his interest in the Appalachian dulcimer resurfaced. For several years he toured the Southern Appalachian regions cataloging and measuring instruments and interviewing owners of those instruments. With this information, he published his book, A CATALOGUE of PRE-REVIVAL APPALACHIAN DULCIMERS, and was awarded a Doctorate of English from Leeds University. Never to sit still, he was twice elected president of the National Horse Shoeing Association, and was well known regionally and nationally for his shoeing and organizational abilities. While at Simmons, Merrill introduced him to sailing. It became their favorite hobby endeavor. They eventually found the ideal home at Marion, Mass., and Buzzards Bay. Allen and Merrill's plans for retirement were sadly altered when Merrill passed away in 2006 after a long illness. Allen continued with teaching and shoeing until, after a short illness, he died at home in Marion. Dr. Allen Smith was preceded in death by his wife Merrill. He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Robert S. and Anne B. Smith of Leavenworth, WA, two nephews and their wives-David and Alyssa Smith of Seattle, WA , Todd and Julie Smith of Seattle, WA, and an uncle-David "Buck" and Joyce Simmons of Jackson, OH. The family of Allen Smith would like to thank the many, many friends for their extraordinary comments and condolences about Allen. Although Allen was a private person and requested that no memorial services be held, The College of Library Science, Simmons College has established a Scholarship fund in his name, and will accept donations in his honor. Checks can be mailed to: Professor Smith Scholarship Fund, Simmons College GSLIS Attn: Professor Smith Scholarship Fund, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.

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