Christian Smith
August 20th, 1925 - February 3rd, 2012
Austin, Texas
 
Christian was a former teacher of Latin, English and Humanities at various high schools, such as Anderson High School, and colleges, including Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. 
 
Those who wish to share a memory are invited to visit his memorial page here: http://wcfish.tributes.com/condolences/leave_memory/93217262 or feel free to email his son Jeremy Smith here.
 
William Christian Smith passed away after a brief illness on February 3rd, 2012. He was surrounded by his children, Jeremy Christian Smith, and Adrienne Lee Smith and his son-in-law Ziad Tahboub. He was 86.
Christian Smith was born August 20th, 1925 in Temple, Texas. He was the youngest of five children born to William Christian Smith Sr. and Lola Swift Wylie. After graduating from Temple High School, he served in the U.S. Navy as a photographer.
He studied at the University of Texas at Austin as well as Mexico City College and the University of Paris, France. In 1953, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Latin from the University of Texas At Austin. He pursued his love of Latin and Greek, earning a Master of Arts in Greek from the University of Texas in 1964.
He was adventurous and made excursions to New Mexico to mine for gold and California to work as a portrait photographer and Mexico to join a theater group.
He taught Latin, Greek and English at several institutions during his career, including Southeastern Louisiana College and Randolph-Macon College, Virginia, before moving back to Austin where he taught Latin and English at Anderson High School for fifteen years. After retiring, he continued teaching Humanities and Latin at Austin Community College in Austin for many years. He loved teaching and kept friendships with many former students over the years. Numerous students expressed a special fondness for him and would greet him with enthusiasm when out in public. Many times instead of greeting people with the typical "how are you?", he would instead ask, "what have you been reading lately?" or "tell me about your most recent successes".
Christian's first love was the Classics but he was also an avid photographer and enjoyed chronicling his travels throughout his life. He loved books, tennis, art, and music. He played the flute and was a member of the GBATTS (Getting Better All The Time Singers), which he often humorously described as "a pleasant sounding illusion".
His love of literature and learning was evident by the informal group meeting held almost every Thursday at his house with local scholars and friends, discussing different works of literature and authors. He was also a member of the British Studies Seminar at the University of Texas at Austin, Friends of the LBJ Library, Friends of the U.T. Austin Libraries, the University of Texas Campus Club and the Texas Retired Teachers Association. Christian was an energetic and enthusiastic person who brought much joy and the love of learning to his many friends. With his unique way of words, he was always quick with a quote or a witty comment. His perspective of history, international politics and popular culture were refreshing and challenging. For a number of years he gave an informal presentation on kitsch in pop culture, a favorite critique of his.
He is survived by his son, Gavin Smith of Irving, TX, his son, Jeremy, and his wife Sheena Hsu, of New Hampshire, his daughter, Adrienne Smith and her husband, Ziad and their two sons, Zakaria and Ibrahim – all of Austin; and by Henrietta Jacobsen, his longtime companion, and by Carole Smith Graber the mother of Adrienne and Jeremy.
 
"Probably the most cerebral teacher I had in all my years at ASID. I had him for four years of Latin (83-87) at Anderson HS. I was way too immature to fully appreciate all he offered. Veni, vidi, vici Mr. Smith!"
 
Posted by: Coby Stilp - Austin, TX - Student   Nov 27, 2012
 
"Un "Homme de lettres" avec majuscule , pétri de savoir et d' humanité qui a laissé des traces à travers sa projéniture. J ai eu l occasion de lui parler au téléphone, et comme dit le dicton "Vous n'aurez jamais une seconde chance de faire une première bonne impression" Gustav WHITE.
Sachez Mr Christian Smith que vous m ' avez impressionez dès le début. Reposez en paix
Peace be upon you
A.B. Brussels Belgium"
 
Posted by: A.B - Brussels   Jul 15, 2012
 
"I was a Latin student of Mr. Smith's, however briefly, in the late 70s. I also believe I took a literature class with him. I didn't exactly have the academic discipline necessary to be really successful in his classes, but of all the teachers I had at Anderson H.S., he's the only one who I remember. Mr. Smith was a passionate, worldly and funny man.
Long after I graduated, even after moving to Dallas in the 90s, I would frequently run in to him at bookstores, bakeries and movies around Austin. It was always such a pleasure to talk to him. My father met him through mutual friends and they wound up regularly played tennis together.
The world is a much richer place because he was a part of it.
Posted by: Gary Fitzsimmons - Dallas, TX - Student   Apr 03, 2012
I was so sorry to hear of Christian's passing. I, too, was one of Mr. Smith's "Latin scholars" at Anderson High School in the early 1980s. I have many fond memories of those classes, which were so small that we all received his personal attention. In addition to learning Latin in class, I remember that we learned about his disdain for kitsch. We also heard about his meeting with poet Ezra Pound, among many other stories."
 
Posted by: Andy Baker - Seguin, TX - Latin scholar   Feb 22, 2012
 
"Thank you, Christian, for your service to our country."
 
Posted by: Col George O Lewis, USAF (Ret) - Austin, TX - Friend   Feb 21, 2012
 
"Dear family of Christian Smith, I was so sorry to hear of your loss.
I knew Christian first from being the foreign language coordinator of the Austin Independent School District (1982-2009). Later, our paths crossed when we were both adjunct professors at Austin Community College. I saw him often in the halls of the old Austin High School, now the Rio Grande campus of ACC.
When I didn't see him or his name on the lists of professors teaching a semester or two, I inquired of him from the other professors of Classics and that i how I found out that his health had not been so good these past few years.
Christian was the consummate scholar and gentleman.
The other language teachers and I shall surely miss him.
Thank you for providing the interesting other aspects of his life in your obituary.
He was a remarkable man.
I would like to have a Mass said for him, if you don't mind. Please send me the name and address of the relative to whom the Mass card can be sent. My information is below.
Thank you.
Michael
Michael G. Hydak
1405 Mohle Drive
Austin, Texas 78703-1933
477-7376
mhydak@austin.rr.com"
 
Posted by: Michael G. Hydak, Ph.D. - Austin, TX - Colleague   Feb 21, 2012
 
"I was so fortunate to have met Chirstian as a class mater of his Son Jeremy Smith in 7th grade. He was so kind to have me over one spring vacation and it was the best vacation that I had every had. He made me feel like I was his son. He as truely a scholar and a gentlemen. I am going to miss him.
Posted by: Pornchai Sae-Sing Hsu - Laguna Hills, CA - family freind   Feb 20, 2012
I am so sorry for your loss. I was fortunate to know Christian as a friend and as a member of his thursday night salons. I gained so much by knowing him. He encouraged everyone to maintain a zest for learning and to always have concern for the 'downtrodden of the world'."
 
Posted by: John Etter DDS - Eagle River, AK - Friend   Feb 18, 2012
 
"I with two other Anderson High School students (Becky Bynum and Bruce Christian) studied both Latin and Greek privately with Mr. Smith for three years. After just a few months of starting my studies with him, I actually dropped out of Band so that I would have more time to devote to academics with him. I truly loved Music back then in high school, still do, but Mr. Smith had much more to offer. I have so many pleasant memories with him: Great field trips to the San Antonio river walk and McNay Art Museum, reading and discussing books on Atheism, Communism and any other controversial idea (if only the school administration had known). Somehow at Anderson I was elected in the year book to the Top 20 who's who and I have always suspected he had a part in that (but being the humble person he was he would never have said). He advised me when my parents could not afford Stanford University to attend UT-Austin and specifically go into the Plan II program (something I might never have known about without his advice). I did graduate from Plan II and feel it was a good fit for me. He wrote my recommendation letter for UT-Austin Biology Summer Science Program and along with Ms. Helen Martin, my Anderson Biology teacher, I succeeded in getting accepted. This was very influential in my eventual career in Medicine and Pediatric Ophthalmology. I later saw him once as a patient and went to dinner once at a local Chinese restaurant he frequented.
I even financially sponsored a park bench in his honor on the Anderson High School campus with the saying in Greek "Know thyself." If they family could contact me I would greatly like to put up his picture in my medical office exam room. In summary, Mr. Smith was a truly great teacher, gentleman, kind person, great intellect with enthusiastic passion for learning. If only the whole world could have studied with him."
 
Posted by: F. Keith Busse, Jr MD - Austin, TX - student   Feb 18, 2012
 
"Mr. Smith was my Latin teacher at Anderson High School in the early 1980's. I will never forget how funny, kind, and encouraging he was. He used to give me inexpensive books from the used book store (Latin grammar, Boswell, and more philosophical stuff) just because he loved to share the joy of language and literature with an interested student. Many of those books I still have. He also once wrote me a joke demerit for "not being insolent enough."
He loved the story of Oscar Wilde arriving in America and being asked at customs, "Have you anything to declare?", to which Wilde replied, "My genius." "Have you anything to declare?" was his standard greeting to our Latin class in those days. So today I have something to declare: "Goodbye and God speed, Mr. Smith. You were a wonderful teacher. Condolences to your loved ones. The world will miss you."
 
Posted by: Mary Clare - Austin, TX - Former student   Feb 16, 2012
 
"My heartfelt sympathy to all of you and Henrietta. Christian was a wonderful man and we all loved him."
 
Posted by: Cosette Pharr - Austin, TX - Friend   Feb 14, 2012
 
"I was so sad to hear of Christian's passing. I worked with him for many years at Anderson High School. He was always charming, witty, and kind.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. May God be with you as you deal with your loss."
 
Posted by: Zif Berry - Georgetown, TX - co-worker   Feb 13, 2012
 
"I was very sorry to hear of Christian's passing. My sincere condolences to all his family and friends. I had the honor and privilege of working with Christian for many years at Austin Community College, and I will never forget his passion for the classics, his keeping student records in calligraphy, and the twinkle in his eyes when he laughed.
Christian was an interesting and fun person. He is remembered fondly at ACC."
 
Posted by: Cathy Angell - Austin, TX   Feb 13, 2012
 
 

 

This is him with Don Herron from his visit to literary San Francisco. He gives tours, you can read more about it at his website www.donherron.com.

 

This is him singing with the Getting Better All The Time Singers in Austin.

You can see him performing in the video that Jeremy made of a GBATTS rehearsal here.


His late sister Zelda Frazier and he made a CD of some music. It also features some spoken word memories from her about them growing up in Temple, Texas. You can download the songs here.

While in New York, he and his son visited the Met 3 days in a row. He went to look at the  new Greek and Roman exhibit they have there. Click here for the pictures that they took. The official website for the exhibit is here.


Here is his son Gavin:

He sells books at: www.gavinicussbooks.com
He specializes in fantasy, horror, and science fiction. I get lots of other books from him as well, a good place to go for hard-to-find stuff.

 

My other son Jeremy Smith has a web page that can be found at
http://www.jeremysmith.com

This is he with his beautiful wife, Sheena Hsu. She just graduated from Columbia University in NY.  Here is their official photo album.

Sheena was the valedictorian of her class and gave a speech. If you want to see the speech you can go here: http://www.columbia.edu/acis/networks/advanced/commencement/2007/gs2007-arch.ram
You will need Real Player.
Go to 1hr and 24 minutes into it for her speech.

 

This is his daughter Adrienne Lee.
She's currently teaching at  Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, Texas.