Frank Smith, 64, Baltimore teacher for 30 years

September 27, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Frank Smith, who was known for his calm and even demeanor during his 30 years as a city elementary school teacher, died Tuesday of Alzheimer's disease at the Villa St. Michael Nursing and Retirement Center in Northwest Baltimore.

Mr. Smith, 64, of Randallstown taught at four city elementary schools from 1962 to 1992. He was known for his patience in dealing with the youngsters.

"He never got mad, never lost control," said Ruth Knowles of Baltimore, who taught with Mr. Smith for many years. "He treated the kids the way he would want to be treated, and they responded to his methods. His methods were not heavy-handed, but more of a compromise and succeed."

Slender, with an easy smile, Mr. Smith often said he genuinely enjoyed teaching because of its challenge. Colleagues said he had an "automatic rapport" with students.

Mr. Smith often stayed late at school to help students and called some at home to check if they had problems with assignments.

"He had a very personable attitude to children and adults," said his sister, Cheryl Holmes of Randallstown. "He was always open and honest. He had a contagious way of making you laugh."

A Baltimore native, Mr. Smith graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1953 and Coppin State College in 1962.

He received a master's degree in education from Morgan State University.

His teaching career began at Steuart Hill Elementary, and he also taught at John Edgar Howard, Cecil and Lafayette elementaries.

In 1975, he was named a "senior teacher," and for the next year worked with teachers at other city schools to improve their skills.

Mr. Smith was an avid bowler and enjoyed gardening, playing cards and softball.

He was a member of the Baltimore chapter of 100 Black Men, Fair Lanes Bowling Club and Beta Sigma Tau fraternity, where he was active in programs to raise money for college scholarships.

Services were held Friday.

Mr. Smith married the former Ruth Wyche in 1977; she died in 1993.

In addition to Ms. Holmes, he is survived by two sons, Rodney Smith of Killeen, Texas, and Duan Smith of Houston; a daughter, Crystal Mason of Baltimore; a brother, Stanley Smith of Baltimore; two other sisters, Constance Holmes and Martha Nobles, both of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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