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Ed Smith Obituary

To my beautiful, loving, outstanding community.  It is with a broken heart that I announce my husband Ed’s passing.  He died on January 12, 2020 while I was away from the house. I have received numerous open-hearted loving cards, calls and correspondences.  I feel incapable of answering these but please understand that I know I am wrapped in your arms and heart. I appreciate the outpouring beyond words.  

We will have a celebration of life for Ed on April 11 @ 12:00 pm at Lewis and Clark college ~ Smith Hall.  It will be a potluck. I know most of you only know Ed through me but still want to express yourselves in a tribute to him and our love. The gathering will be to join hearts in ceremony and community. 

Ed was my “everything”.  He was one of my greatest teachers and heart advisors.  If I know anything about love it is because of Ed.  

One of the things I hold most preciously is that Ed and I were always kind to each other.  We spoke to each other with love and respect. We laughed a lot! We valued each other and what each of us stood for.  A love affair in its most sacred expression.  

For those of you that knew him you are lucky.  For those of you that didn’t maybe you can feel into the words in his obituary and get a sense of what an amazing human being he was.

Ed R. Smith

12/30/1942 – 1/12/2020

Ed Smith was a dedicated Husband, Father, and “Papa” who always found more pleasure in giving than receiving. There isn’t a single individual on the planet who loved his family more. A real humanist, Ed always saw the goodness in others; believing in the value each one of us possess. He approached all of life’s problems with a level headedness to be admired, and would always seek to help his family, for which he was very proud, with their day-to-day challenges.

An avid reader and lover of politics, he started his mornings reading the paper cover-to-cover so he was up to date on the news of the day. He also loved completing the New York Times crossword puzzle; particularly enjoying the end of the week as the puzzle gets harder. With a background in English and British Literature, he occasionally submitted editorials to the Oregonian that were always published (he claimed to have a perfect record.) He surrounded himself with an impressive library of both books and cinema and enjoyed discussing their stories with family and friends; his personal collection from The Library of America alone could be applauded. A Mensa member with an IQ in the top one percent of the population, Ed really was a literal genius. He never, however, belittled those with whom he spoke and could ignite interest in all topics of discussion. An exceptional intellectual, his preferred method of communication was through compassion and kindness. Ed’s erudition of language served to communicate his thoughts of moral concern, and while speaking and writing he always championed for the underdog and their basic human rights. A diehard liberal democrat, Ed could often be heard explaining the incompetencies of politicians placed in office, stating “Democracy, although a risky and often messy form of government, is far preferable to a system that limits the choices of the populace.”

Ed was a funny and playful guy. No matter how serious the conversation, he was able to solicit a joke or a pun that would bring smiles and laughter. He adored playing with the kids and entertaining friends; often leaving a group declaring his signature departing phrase, “Glad you got to see me!”

Ed loved to travel and emphatically shared that love with his family; taking them all over the world to experience a multitude of cultures firsthand. As a liberal educator, Ed refused to believe that learning should be limited to the confines of a classroom. While traveling, it was he who would insist on staying where the locals lived. He was fascinated with witnessing others’ way of life and taught his children to honor and respect them equally. Ed and his wife, Jan, frequently traveled internationally.

Having worked 43 years in the field of education, Ed embodied everything it was to serve as an educator. Ed shared his passion for education and was solicited to speak at several educational conferences presenting the keynote address at different conferences all across the United States. Ed was awarded the Oregon Association of Central Office Administrators Achievement of Excellence Award in 2006.

Ed also had an exceptional palate; his passion for cooking and love of food seemed to never be quite satiated. His devotion for creating complex dishes knew no bounds as it was his favorite craft to share. He could often be found in his kitchen, “cookin’ up a storm” as he would say. All whom were lucky enough to dine on his cuisine held his food in high regard. Every holiday it was not uncommon to enjoy carefully constructed multiple course meals, all cooked from scratch by Ed. Often including at least three different homemade pies. Ed could bake, cook, and grill a meal fit for a king. He’d tell you “it’s simple enough”, but you’d never find his recipe as he never really had one; making it up as he went, guided by his taste buds.

He was a treasure, a true gem that was highly valued by all who met and interacted with him. Loved and admired by many; he will be greatly missed. Ed is survived by his wife of 35 years Jan Engels-Smith, his eldest daughter Alexandria Engels-Smith along with her children (Cohen, and twins Miro & Jocelyn), and his twins: son Grayson Engels-Smith and daughter Lauren Finley. He is also survived by his twin sister, Betty Smith in Texas. 

Quotes and sayings by Ed 

“Life is an adventure of endless possibilities. Dream well, laugh joyously, and love deeply, and the simplest events in life will become everyday miracles.” – Ed Smith

 “However ill-defined the journey or indeterminate the destination, dream of unknown possibilities. To “know” what one wants to do and where one wants to end are the limiting factors and provide a measure of failure. Be true to what you value and to yourself and a life well worth living will emerge and give meaning to our existence. Love and joy await.”   – Ed Smith

Ed’s response his son Grayson about Grayson’s reading of Paradise Lost. “Life is essentially a series of tragedies that we navigate between desperation and hope waiting for the morning sunrise after the stormy night. Pessimism? Cynicism?  Or the motor of the faltering human condition? Is it reconciling this moment or an imagined future? If it is both, there is no need for an explanation- for there is none.” – Ed Smith 

Some of Ed’s favorites: 

“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” -Thomas Jefferson

“Many people consider the things which government does for them to be social progress, but they consider the things government does for others as socialism” -Earl Warren