Robert J. Smith
ST. PAUL, MN - Robert J. Smith passed away at his home on November 12, 2013. He was born April 22, 1923, in Springfield to Harrison, Sr., and Julia M. Smith. He married Marian Harshaw and she survives. Also surviving are his daughter, Barbara Singleton of St. Paul; sons, Alex, of St. Paul, and Robert Mark (Andrea) of Charlotte, N.C.; his grandchildren, David, Danielle, Taja, Julie and April; and also several great-grandchildren.
Preceding him in death, his parents and brother, Harrison, Jr. Surviving is his sister, Rita Belle Phelps, of Springfield, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In Springfield, Robert attended St. Paul AME Church, became a boy scout in Troop 19 where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Robert was a graduate of Feitshans High School. He enlisted in the US Army at 19 and served as Corporal in Combat Engineers. After his discharge in November 1945, he received his BS from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and received his MA in Education from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. He also attended the University of Minnesota attaining a Specialist Degree in Administration.
It was in the St. Paul public school system where he taught Industrial Arts and Social Studies. He later became principal at Ramsey Junior High School until his retirement in 1983. Robert received the Unsung Hero Award recognized for Contributions and Service as the First African-American Secondary Principal in the St. Paul Public Schools. In addition, he was awarded status of Silver Beaver as Scoutmaster for Troop 405.
After he arrived in St. Paul, he attended St. James AME Church. Funeral services were held at St. James AME Church. Burial followed at Fort Snelling National Cemetery where military honors were conducted.