Rest In Peace, Don Smith
Don Smith was a friend and music colleague of mine whom I have known since the 1980's. Most notable to me was his integrity, his musicality and his devotion to his church family. One cannot speak of him without remembering a gentle, quiet person whose energy spoke for him.
I played Horn under him when he conducted chamber orchestra concerts and great choral works. As a conductor he was so easy to follow and caught even the smallest nuances which might be missed by other less talented conductors. He literally coaxed great performances from all of us at the podium, yet never said a harsh word. I have had the pleasure of hiring brass musicians and timpani for the St. Marks Easter Service in recent years. Thank you, Don, for trusting me with that responsibility. What a glorious opportunity for musicians to play in the Cathedral on Easter morning. You will be greatly missed by all of us. We'll be there in St. Marks thinking of you next Spring.
The following obituary for Don Smith was posted in the Shreveport Times Tuesday, November 27, 2012
SHREVEPORT, LA - Donald Lynch Smith was a native of Chattanooga, TN. He was born August 30, 1954. He died at his home in Shreveport, LA on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012, at the age of 58 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Don graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1977 with a degree in Sacred Church Music. He was awarded a Master of Music in Organ Performance with High Distinction from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. His teachers included Robert Rayfield, John L. Hooker, Isa McIlwraith and Walker Breland. Don has performed with the Baroque Artists of Shreveport and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with choirs, and as an organ soloist throughout the United States, Mexico and the U.K.
He recently completed 28 years of service at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral and succeeded William C. Teague in 1987 as Organist and Choirmaster. He worked with the church choirs, boys choir, and hand bells and was the Director of chapel music and choir in the Day School until assuming the role of organist and choirmaster in the fall of 1987. He was active in the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Association of Diocesan Liturgists and Musicians, as well as the American Guild of Organists. He also served as a member of the Diocesan Music Commission.
Don was a blessed servant of God, a kind and encouraging man. Under his gentle guidance, choristers of all ages gained or improved basic skills, growing with his support into greater musical ability and deeper spiritual maturity. Don Smith was an excellent minister and inspired teacher with tremendous forbearance of the idiosyncrasies of human beings. His good humor was testament to his ability to laugh first at himself. A quiet and private man, Don will be remembered by his church as a man who believed what he sang and lived what he believed.
Don is predeceased by his father, James T. Smith, and his brother, James T. Smith, Jr. He is survived by his mother, Lorena Katherine Smith of Rossville, GA; partner, Ron St. Aubyn of Shreveport, LA; sister-in-law, Martha Smith of Flintstone, GA; niece, Jennifer Hisey and husband, Kenny Cone, and their children, Tyler and Nicholas, of Flintstone, GA; nephews, Jason Smith and his son, Dalton, and Marc Smith also of Flintstone, GA; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A memorial service celebrating Don's life will be at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, December 8, 2012, at St. Mark's Cathedral, Shreveport.
Don requested that any memorials be made to the fund for the maintenance and upkeep of the organ at St. Mark's Cathedral.