Sample Memorial

Long tribute to a professor

John Smith

John Smith, an esteemed professor of Political Science at New York University and passionate activist of numerous social causes, passed away peacefully on 13 March 2014 at his family home in Manhattan. He was 75. His passing came after a 3-year battle against colorectal cancer. His wife, Mrs. Jane Smith, and his two sons, James Smith and Jason Smith, and five grandchildren survive him.

A brilliant professor, his loss has been felt by not only his nearest and dearest but also by his colleagues and students. “Professor Smith was a patient and insightful teacher that always sought to bring out the very best of his students,” Mr. Eric Williams remarked. Mr. Williams was under the tutelage of Professor Smith during his undergraduate years. Soon after, he continued to work with Professor Smith as a teaching assistant for many years, eventually becoming a close personal friend.

In addition to his work in the classroom, John was known on campus as a passionate activist for numerous social causes. For a man who was self-admittedly reserved, he was blessed with the unique ability to give a voice to those that had none. He championed causes such as education, equality and racial integration across America and around the world. For this reason, UNICEF was a cause that was close to his heart.

John Edwards Smith was born January 21st 1939 to Bruce and Martha Smith in Maryland. His mother, a piano teacher, imparted a deep appreciation for music that resonated with him throughout his life. He remained an enthusiastic pianist till the last years of his life. Miles Cooper, a childhood friend of John said, “When John played the piano he seemed to light up from the inside. In his last days, music seemed to bring John a sense of serenity.”

He enrolled in the University of Maryland in 1957 and was soon inspired to major in Political Science and Anthropology. It was in 1959 during a social event at the University that he first met Miss Jane Evans. Instantly charmed by Jane, John was both sincere in his affection and relentless in his pursuit. Thus, it was not long after graduating from the University of Maryland that John and Jane wed.

John initially worked as an office administrator before realizing his desire to teach. He made the decision to enroll in a Master’s program at his alma mater and eventually went on to begin his career as a teacher within the same University.

By a sheer twist of fate, the Smith family found themselves in New York City in 1975. An old colleague, Mr. Mark Addy, had been offered a professorial position at NYU. Unable to take up the position, Mr. Addy recommended John for the prestigious position. John realized the opportunities that New York City would be able to afford his family and readily accepted the offer. New York City then became the backdrop against which John advanced his career and nurtured his family.

In spite of a demanding profession, John was a devoted husband and father. James recalls, “Our father always took the time to really listen and understand us. Never once was he dismissive or too busy to hear about our day”.

Even in his last days, John’s spirit and concern for his loved ones never faltered, emphasizing how he truly lived his life in service of others. His family, friends and students will remember him as a man whose warm, welcoming smile was always a source of comfort and inspiration.



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