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06 November 2008

Member Spotlight: Dick Smith

After months and months of effort, CGS recently unveiled the society's new Web site. Scores of volunteers at the California Genealogical Society contributed in many ways – writing copy, taking photographs, meeting to discuss layout and content, readying databases and much, much more. But the real hero is Richard A. "Dick" Smith who directed the project from start to finish and did an incredible job as liaison to the Web site creators. The work consumed his life for over a year-and-a-half. The society owes him a huge debt of gratitude.
Dick has been an active member of the California Genealogical Society since 1983. Before tackling the monumental Web project, he was involved in various other projects for the society. Dick created signs and did other tasks for the Genealogy Fairs of past years and he also helped with the society's move to the East Bay in 1998.
Dick can pinpoint almost the exact date that he was bit by the genealogy bug. In late 1943 while on leave from the from United States Army Air Force during World War II, Dick paid a visit to his to see his grandmother before heading overseas. It was the start of a life-long fascination with his family's history.
Richard A. Smith earned a B.S. in Geology and Ed.D. in Teacher Education from Stanford University and a Masters in Science Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Professionally, Dick taught high school for several years before starting a career as professor at San Jose State University, where he taught for almost forty years. Lest you think that Dick had all those summers off, he also worked as a trainer, staff member, consultant and travel study leader for the Peace Corps – contributing his time over a period of twenty-six years, including service on the Pacific Islands Education Project from 1981-1987.
Thank you, Dick, for the enormous responsibility you have shouldered for the society.

Photograph by Kathryn Doyle, 1/12/2008, Oakland, California.

Addendum: The California Genealogical Society learned of the death of member, friend and long-time volunteer, Dick Smith, at his home in Oakland on December 13, 2009.  Dick's death was reported in the Oakland Tribune on January 13, 2010. His full biography and obituary is online at his personal website.