David Smith (1926 - 2013)

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  • "As a 20-year-old transfer student, I sat with David on the..."
    - Jane Murphy
  • "David Smith was my freshman English comp instructor at..."
    - Marjorie Palmer
  • "Another from the 'Greatest Generation' in God's care. Thank..."
  • "I was very sorry to hear about David's death. David was a..."
  • "My condolences to your family. I took only one class with..."
    - Rebecca Plante
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Professor David E. Smith of Walpole, Maine, formerly of Amherst, Mass. passed away Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, at the Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, ME. David was born May 5, 1926, in Boston, a son of Robert Whitelaw Smith and Mary Jane (Wallace) Smith.
After graduation from the Mount Hermon School, David entered the service in WWII as an aviation cadet in the V-12 program.
He graduated from Middlebury College under the G.I. bill. After completing master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Minnesota, he joined the faculty at Indiana University, where he helped to establish and chaired the graduate program in American Studies. He is the author of "John Bunyan In America," an editor of "The MacMillan Anthology of American Literature," and author of many scholarly articles. A grant from The Society for Ethics in Higher Education provided support for his post-graduate work at Yale University's Divinity School.
In 1970, David became a founding faculty member at Hampshire College in Amherst. He was instrumental in helping the college develop its experimenting curriculum, unique pedagogical structures and divisional system. He taught classes in English and American Studies, courses on the American Landscape, Native American cultures, Women's Studies, and Nature/Nature Writers. He served as Dean of the School of Humanities and Arts for ten years and guided the school in the establishment of interdisciplinary academic departments and collaborative faculty partnerships. David deeply enjoyed music, building harpsichords and exploring German history and culture.
David is survived by his wife of 55 years, Priscilla Riley Smith, and his four children: Eric Smith and wife Kali of Savannah, Georgia; Sarah Letsky and husband Bill of Andover; Miriam Smith and husband Michael Acton of Acton; and Wilhelmina Smith and husband Mark Mandarano of St. Paul, MI.; and nine grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Henrietta Smith of Cape Elizabeth, ME., and several nieces and nephews.
If friends wish, memorial gifts in David's name may be made to The David Smith Endowment Fund at Hampshire College (c/o Cheri Butler, Hampshire College Office of Institutional Advancement, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 01002) or to Salt Bay Chamberfest (www.saltbaychamberfest.org, P.O. Box 1268, Damariscotta, Maine, 04543).
The Smith Family invites you to honor and celebrate the life of David E. Smith on Saturday, September 14, 1-5 p.m. for an Open House at the Smith farm in Walpole, Maine. We hope to collect your written remembrances of David, prose or poetry.
To Sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to www.gazettewet.com/obituaries.
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Sept. 2, 2013