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William Smedley

William Michael Smedley, 96, died February 23 of pneumonia in Annapolis. He was a Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the U.S. Naval Academy. Born in Chicago, he received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and his graduate degree in chemistry at Northwestern University. He was commissioned in the Naval Reserve from Northwestern NROTC. As a member of the reserve he was ordered to active duty in August 1940 and except for a brief period at sea during World War II, he spent his active duty at the Naval Academy. He was a member of the USS Floyd B. Parks DD884 Association. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 1969 with the rank of commander after serving as the CO of the Washington, DC Naval Research Reserve Unit. Professor Smedley joined the Naval Academy faculty in August 1947 and retired with the rank of Professor Emeritus in January 1987. During the 1950s, on leave of absence from USNA, he taught in the chemistry department of the University of Maryland at College Park where later he was a National Science Foundation Senior Faculty Fellow. His combined military and civilian service at the Naval Academy exceeded 45 years. Bill was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, serving multiple terms on the session of the Riverdale Presbyterian Church in University Park where he had been a member for over 60 years. He was also a summer associate member of the First Baptist Church, New London, NH for over 60 years. He was active in many organizations, both in Annapolis and New London, especially Rotary International, where he was a past president of the Annapolis club and one the founding group of the New London club. He was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Margaret Jane Thurston, who died in 1999. He is survived by his daughter, Jane Elizabeth Smedley, an assistant professor of chemistry at USNA; sister, Mrs. L. William Christopher of Los Angeles; and nieces and nephews. A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., March 6, at Taylor's Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis. The memorial service will be at 2 p.m., March 9, at Riverdale Presbyterian Church, 6513 Queens Chapel Road, University Park. Interment in Elkins Cemetery, Elkins, NH near his long-time summer home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the US Naval Academy Foundation or the church or . Online condolences may be made at www.johnmtaylorfuneralhome.com
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Published in The Capital on Mar. 3, 2013
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