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Allen Smith

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Allen Smith Obituary
Jazz trumpeter and educator Allen Smith died in San Francisco on February 3, 2011 following a period of physical decline. He was 85 years old. Born in Midland, PA, Frederick Allen Smith, Sr. was the youngest son in a musical family; his father was a choir director and his mother taught piano. Many of his extended family members were professional musicians, as are his brother Wayne and son Anthony. During World War II, Smith served in the Navy at Barber's Point Naval Air Station in Honolulu, Hawaii and was a member of the renowned Hellcats Navy band. Upon returning from the war, Smith settled in the Bay Area and attended San Francisco State University where he earned a music degree in a class that included fellow musicians Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Cal Tjader. Smith was well-known to Bay Area jazz fans and was a long-time fixture of the West Coast jazz scene. He was professionally active until the last years of his life and was a sought-after free-lance "musician's musician". Smith's technical proficiency, expert ability to sight-read music and skilled improvisation were appreciated by bandleaders and vocalists alike. Smith's talent was regularly called upon by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett and many others during their appearances in the Bay Area. In earlier years, while based in New York, Smith toured and recorded with Benny Goodman. Smith also earned a Master's degree in education from SF State University and enjoyed a parallel career within the S.F. Unified School District. He was for many years the principal of Junipero Serra School and upon retirement dedicated himself fully to music, supporting local artists including Bay Area favourites Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, as well as song stylist Kim Nalley, among many others. He was an avid golfer and an active member of the St. Francis Yacht Club and the Bohemian Club. Smith is survived by his wife of fifty years Juliette (Brannen), by his brother Wayne married to Pepper Smith, by his children Anthony married to Manera Smith, Peter, Rick and Jennifer married to Josef Lusser, and by his six grandchildren, Matthew and Isabelle Smith of Boston, MA and Josef, Christina, Stephanie and Elizabeth Lusser of Vienna, Austria.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 6, 2011
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