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Lester K. Smith


1929 - 2019
Lester K. Smith Obituary
Lester K. Smith

Born: July 25, 1929

Died: August 16, 2019,

Lester K. Smith of DeKalb, IL died August 16, 2019, aged 94. Mr. Smith was born July 25, 1929 in San Diego, CA, the first-born son of Paul L. and Eunice I. Smith. He had two brothers, Robert L. and Douglass C. Smith, both deceased. He graduated from high school during World War II and was employed as a tool designer at an aircraft sub-assembly plant in Chula Vista, CA.

At war's end, Mr. Smith entered San Diego State College (now University) and graduated in 1949, earning a BA in Art. Thereafter he worked as an interior decorator until drafted into the Army in 1952, serving 13 months in Korea. As a result of a service-connected illness he qualified for further education and earned a master's degree in Library Sciences from the University of Southern California (USC). After returning to San Diego, Lester worked as a reference librarian at San Diego State College from 1957 to 1967. Seeking further education, he was awarded a Title II Fellowship to work on a doctorate at USC, which he completed in 1972. In 1970 Mr. Smith was appointed College Librarian at Concord College, West Virginia, where he served for three years before coming to Northern Illinois University as the Associate Director of Libraries.

Retirement in 1989 provided an attractive prospect: for eleven years Mr. Smith traveled widely in Europe and elsewhere. He also served as a volunteer in the literacy program at Kishwaukee College for several years. In recognizing that he had been the beneficiary of generous financial support for both of his graduate degrees, Lester endowed the Lester K. Smith Creative Arts Fund to permanently fund scholarships in both art and music at NIU.

Lester is survived by nieces Jaquelyn Beveridge and Constance Smith, daughters of Robert and Marilyn Smith (deceased). No memorial is planned.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Lester's memory may contribute to the Lester K. Smith Creative Arts Fund via the Northern Illinois University Foundation 135 Altgeld Hall, DeKalb, IL 60115
Published in Daily-Chronicle on Aug. 17, 2019
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