Dr. Frank Rees Smith

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  • "Frank was indeed such a rare caring intelligent human..."
    - Heejung Moon
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Frank Rees Smith, MD 1937-2017 Dr. Frank Rees Smith, age 79, died on Monday, January 16, 2017, at his home in Annapolis, Maryland. He leaves his wife of 55 years, Gwynneth Williamson Smith; his son, Christopher R. Smith, and his wife, Alysa Doyle; his daughter, Cynthia D. Smith, and her husband, Nicholas Kartsonis; his daughter, Katherine Smith Tindall and her husband, Mark Tindall; 9 grandchildren; and many close friends. He joins his parents and his one sister, Martha Rees McBride, who have preceded him. Frank was born on April 3, 1937, in Flint, Michigan, to Frank and Katherine Rees Smith. He attended the Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN, graduating in 1955. He earned his BA in English at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1959. He attended medical school and graduated in 1962 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, NY. It was during this time at Columbia that he met his wife, Gwyneth Williamson, who was getting her degree in nursing. They married in Providence RI in 1962. He remained at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for his residency in Internal Medicine, followed in 1964 by a fellowship in Gastroenterology & Neuroendocrinology at the National Heart and Lung Institute in Bethesda, MD. Upon completion of his fellowship in 1967, Frank returned to the Department of Medicine at Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons, where he served as a professor, clinician, and researcher. His research focused on cholesterol metabolism, vitamin transport, and the role of taste in subjects with liver or endocrine-related disorders. He also served in the Department of Public Health in Englewood NJ. In 1976, Frank's interest in Public Health and in Occupational Health and Safety led him to leave research to accept a position as a Medical Director in the Department of Medical and Environmental Affairs at Exxon Chemical in Houston, TX. There he helped oversee Exxon's Health Information System, which tracked the health and wellbeing of the company's employees worldwide, conducted medical surveillance, and ensured regulatory compliance. He also travelled the globe helping to set up and staff clinical care facilities for many of the company's larger work sites. He then served as Senior Scientific Adviser for Exxon until his retirement in 2002. Throughout his career and for the many years that followed, Frank took immense pleasure in the people and in the world around him. He was a voracious reader, often making he way through multiple books at once. He enjoyed tennis, bird watching and hiking. Through the Cape Cod Wildflower Society he developed a great interest in plants and gardening. He became a docent and a board member at Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha's Vineyard where he lived with his family each summer for 54 years. Frank also had a great love of opera and concert music. He was an avid wine connoisseur and was elected to knighthood in Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. Uniting these passions was the ability to share them without any hesitation or reservation. His joy came from the happiness of those around him. He was a great companion, a devoted husband, a caring father and loving grandfather. His was a life well lived. A memorial service is planned for January 28, 2017 at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Annapolis MD at 11 AM. Memorial contributions may be made to Polly Hill Arboretum, PO Box 561 West Tisbury MA 02575 or to a charity of your choosing.

Published in The Capital Gazette on Jan. 20, 2017