I'd like to add my brother Rick Smith to the memorial list. He died in 2012 from cancer—he was 64. I remember well April 17, 1969, when I came to Palo Alto to be with him for his birthday. When I couldn't find him at his home, I heard he was at the sit in at AEL. I found him there that afternoon and that was my introduction to the Stanford movement. He was deeply affected by all that he learned there and it informed the rest of his life. He became a National Park Ranger at the Lowell Historical Park (after history grad school at UC Santa Cruz and later a law degree from Berkeley). He was proudest of the curriculum he developed there called Workers on the line where HS students would get the experience of being a mill worker, be subjected to a speed-up, and then observed to see if they would organize a work action. If they called for a strike, they were rewarded with a hat that said,
Teen age workers of the world.
Born in Schenectady, NY, on April 17, 1948, Rick was the son of William W. and Joyce H. Smith. His family moved to Rye, NY, in 1956. He was a graduate of Rye High School, class of 1966, and received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1970, a Master’s degree in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a J.D. degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law.
He retired in 2010 after a 22-year career as a Park Ranger at Lowell National Historical Park. Most of that time was spent in the Education District, at the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the Boott Mills. His specialty was the history of the American Industrial Revolution, focusing on the rise and decline of the water-powered textile mills in New England, and with particular emphasis on the changing treatment of the workers, primarily the “mill girls”, who made up the labor force of early industrial America.
History was his passion, but he also loved walking (the Riverwalk was a favorite), hiking, and sports, particularly baseball. Quiet by nature, he would readily engage in discussion and debate about players‘ statistics. He enjoyed traveling with his wife Martha, especially to Martha’s Vineyard.
Rick is survived by his wife, Martha Barrett-Smith of Pelham, his son, Nicholas W. Smith of Boston, and three stepchildren: John E. Barrett, Esq. of Falls Church, VA, Dr. Mary M. Barrett of Albany, NY, and Kathleen V. Barrett of Boston. He is also survived by his brothers, Christopher W. Smith and his wife Nancy of Wilton, CT, and Theodore G. Smith and his wife Amanda Hawes of San Jose, CA, as well as many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Ted Smith, Personal Communication
In Memory of Richard E. Smith, posted by Dracut Funeral Home. Link
Veteran Park Ranger Gives Back, UMass Lowell, March 17, 2008. Link
Workers on the Line: Teaching Industrial History at the Tsongas Industrial History Center and Lowell National Historic Park, OAH Magazine of History. Link