American Veteran 01


Richard V. Smith

June 28, 1928 ~ April 24, 2019 (age 90)

Richard (Dick) Vergon Smith, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died peacefully on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at the Knolls of Oxford. His kindness, humor, love of family, and consideration for others were evident until the end. Dick was born in Ada, Ohio in 1928, the son of Edwin Vergon and Gladys Pollock Smith, and grew up there and in Cleveland. An enthusiastic athlete, he was also active in the Boy Scouts and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. After an initial term at Miami University, he joined the army and served for 18 months, before returning to Miami and completing his degree. He earned his doctorate in Geography at Northwestern University and taught at the University of North Dakota for three years before returning to Miami in 1957. He remained there until his retirement in 1996, a much-loved mentor and teacher of generations of students of Geography and Environmental Studies, who went on to successful careers in a variety of fields. Over the course of his career he chaired the Geography Department and served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1989, he received the university's Benjamin Harrison Award in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of education. He married Virginia (Ginger) Madgett on January 29, 1960 at the Methodist Church in North College Hill in Cincinnati. He was preceded in death by his sister, Esther Branstetter of Avon, Ohio, and his parents, as well as his beloved daughter Alison Catherine. He is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Virginia, his children Stuart (Betsy), Leslie and Darren (Rachel), and grandchildren Nicole (Brand'n) Byrd, Zachary, Cameron and Sean, and great-grandson Marcus Byrd, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. An inveterate traveler who punctuated his career with sabbaticals in Southampton, Luxembourg, and Edinburgh, he and Ginger traveled extensively after his retirement. He also played a leading role in the founding and consolidation of Miami's Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR), teaching numerous courses and leading trips to a variety of destinations, something he also did to Britain for the National Geographic Society. He and Ginger were lifelong members of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Oxford, Ohio.

A Celebration of Life will take place at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 25 E. Walnut Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056 on May 16, 2019 at 2 PM. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Holy Trinity Church, 25 E. Walnut Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056 or to the Institute for Learning in Retirement, Miami University, 106 MacMillan Hall, 531 E. Spring Street, Oxford, Ohio, 45056.

Donations may be made to:

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
25 E Walnut St, Oxford, OH 45056, Oxford OH 45056

Learning in Retirement-Miami University
106 MacMillan Hall, 531 E. Spring Street, Oxford OH 45056

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