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68, of Ford City, PA, passed away in Pittsburgh, PA, on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Born December 22, 1943, in Bayonne, NJ. He was the youngest child of Edwin and Florence Smits (nee Willard). In 1962, he graduated from Toms River High School in NJ. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Rutgers University in 1966. After serving in Vietnam, he earned his PhD from Ball State University, Indiana, in 1978. Dr. Smits taught English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for 29 years. Dr. Smits poems have appeared in College English, Journal of the American Medical Association, Poetry East, Poetry Lore, The National Forum, The Southern Review, Tar River Poetry, and many other publications. The accomplished poet's book of poetry was published in 2009 and named "PUSH." He received the 2002 Outstanding Faculty Award from the English Association of Penn. State Universities. He was also awarded the 1992-1993 IUP Distinguished Faculty Awards for Creative Arts. His love for the outdoors is evident in his many works of poetry. His favorite hiking trails are found in western Pennsylvania. He would often conduct a class at Buttermilk Falls, a part of Indiana County Parks. Dr. Smits was predeceased by his parents; and by his brother, Edwin. He is survived by his son, Ronald and his wife, Amy; two granddaughters, Charlotte and Emma; his sister, Joan Rose; and his longtime companion, Elaine Linkhauer. Friends will be received at ANDERSON & CAMPBELL FUNERAL HOME, 703 Main Street, Toms River, NJ, on Monday, October 1, 2012 from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m. Burial immediately following at Riverside Cemetery, Toms River, NJ.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sept. 29, 2012
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