Theodore J. Smayda
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85, died peacefully April 5 at home surrounded by his beloved wife Marilyn (Miller) and loving family. Born in Peckville, PA, he was the son of Theodore and Julia (Gnall) Smayda. He is survived by his son Thomas Smayda and wife Kathy, daughter Susan Marcus and husband Kim, and stepson Jason Nigrelli, grandchildren Cora and Sarah Smayda, Benito and Cate Marcus, and Otis Nigrelli. He is also survived by his brother William Smayda of Fredericksburg, VA
Dr. Smayda was a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island from 1959 to present. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of Oslo, Norway, where he earned a doctor of phylos degree. His research on marine phytoplankton brought him international acclaim and numerous awards of excellence. He authored over 150 research papers and served on many international committees. As a major professor of many successful graduate students, he championed women in the field of oceanography. Among his graduates were the first female to graduate from the School of Oceanography and the first female researcher allowed aboard the vessel, the Trident. He was a very active environmental conservationist having been cofounder of the Narrow River Preservation Association. He also served as member of the Jamestown Conservation Committee. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Jamestown Emergency Medical Services. For information and condolences visit:

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Published in The Providence Journal on Apr. 9, 2017.
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Memories & Condolences
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11 entries
April 3, 2019
Ted has a wonderful smile and sense of humor, besides his kindness. I am sure that his joy of life is still waving on the Rhode Island bay.
Paula de Sá
December 19, 2017
I have just read this very sad news about Ted, Marilyn. I will never forget his great smile and open arms the time that I spent with both of you. I will find your number and try to give you a call. Love, Paula
Paula de Sá
May 16, 2017
A really sad new for all us colleagues of him. Dr. Smayda was one of the scientific with a high vision on what must be in the field of HAB. Also a critic analyst of the HAB literature resulting in precise and helpful concepts. He let us a big legacy of work and discovery of HAB.
Jose bustillos
May 9, 2017
Dear Marilyn,
I recently heard of Ted's passing . Dave and I wanted to extend our sincere sympathy to you and your family. I knew Ted through the URI Oceanography School and always enjoyed talking to him about phytoplankton. May friends and family help to support you in the days and months to come.
Warm regards,
Linn Lydon
April 13, 2017
I read several publications of him related to HAB. I am sorry.
Elif Eker-Develi
April 12, 2017
Ted's passing will surely leave a gulf in our lives, for we loved him for his wit, energy, keen intelligence, sense of humor, and deep friendship. Ted's legacy and generous contributions to world oceanography will live on. Thank you, Marilyn, for bringing Ted into our lives.

Louise and Ed Turilli
Ed & Louise Turilli
April 11, 2017
Dear Marilyn, I am sorry to hear of the passing of Ted. I only knew him for a short time but he made such a wonderful impression on me. I only wish that I could've spent more time talking to him. I was away when Ted pasted. I will be in touch with you in the next week or so. Again we are sorry for your loss. Joe and Tina DiBiase. Aid4mobility
Joe Dibiase
April 11, 2017
Dear Marilyn,
This obituary came as a great shock to me as I was searching for another one. I am sorry to hear of his passing.
Doris (Flesia) Mercier
Doris (Flesia) Mercier
April 11, 2017
I am so sorry to hear of Ted's passing. Ted's enthusiasm for life and science were both so wonderfully infectious, it was a joy to be around him. He inspired me to pursue my PhD and career, as he taught me to think and analyze. Ted was eclectic, having so many interests. It was always stimulating and fun to talk with him. My sympathies to his family and friends. We will all miss Ted greatly.
Debbie French McCay
April 9, 2017
To Tom, Susan and Bill,

Condolences to you on the death of your father and brother. He was an outstanding individual. Ted called on New Year's Day to share his greetings and explain that he was unwell. Jim and I are glad we had that chance to speak with him and wish him well.

It is a great loss to the world of Oceanography, to which he contributed so very much.

His memory will go on ...
Connie Connery
April 9, 2017
So sorry to learn of Teddy's passing. I called my Dad, Bob Zuraw,in Florida, to let him know about the passing of his dear old friend. I have fond memories of visiting Rhode Island with my family as a child to see Teddy and his family. Visiting the Smayda family in Saundertown in the summer is how I ended up moving to RI over 40 years ago. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. May you find peace in the memories you have of your loved one.
Essie Zuraw-Burns
Family Friend
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