Dr. Ronald Francis Smits
1943 - 2012
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Dr. Ronald Francis Smits

AGE: 68 • Ford City, PA

Dr. Ronald Francis Smits, 68, of Ford City, PA, passed away in Pittsburgh, PA, on Wednesday, Sept. 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 1st, 2012 from 11AM till 1PM. Burial is immediately following at Riverside Cemetery, Toms River, NJ.


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Published in Asbury Park Press on Sep. 29, 2012.
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Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
October 23, 2013
Ron was a true gentleman and a valued friend. He was my trumpet student, yet I'm sure I learned more than he did. I feel privileged to have had a chance to read and discuss his work.
His book has a permanent place in my studio. Each time I pick it up, I'm inspired by his striking and evocative expression of the beauty and meaning he found in every part of his world.
We at Murphy's Music are richer for having known him.
Joe Perrino
June 11, 2013
We here at Murphy's Music Center were saddened to hear of Ron's passing. He became part of the Saturday Murphy Family as he enjoyed his new found interest in playing the trumpet and the lessons he took here each Saturday. He also did poetry readings at a local coffeehouse and will be missed there as well. Our condolences go out to his friends and family. He made this world a better place.
Jim Smith
March 30, 2013
Ron was one of my top students in the grad program at Ball State. He was a very likable guy, compassionate, creative, thoughtful, bright and witty, down-to-earth--just like his excellent poetry. I was not surprised to hear of his recognition for effective teaching. I'm deeply saddened by Ron's death.
Tom Koontz
November 10, 2012
So saddened to hear of Dr. Smits' passing. He was a brilliant professor and a kind soul who will be greatly missed. I feel truly blessed to have had the chance to know and learn from him.
Rachael Faykosh
October 5, 2012
Dr. Smits writing classes inspired me as a student. His patience and encouragement will not be forgotten.
Jen Foradori
September 30, 2012
Godspeed on your next journey Uncle Ron. Thanks for all the great memories. We love you.

Donna and Kelli
Donna Smits
September 29, 2012
Uncle Ron, Always in our hearts...
The Leins
September 29, 2012
We love you, Uncle Ron. We are forever connected through your beautiful poetry and are so grateful for the gift of those poems. Everyone in the family is in our thoughts and prayers - Diane and Bob, Jenna and Rob, Bryan and Nick
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