Harold Edward Smith Jr., 62, high school art department head

September 18, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Harold Edward Smith Jr., a Federal Hill artist who had been chairman of the art department at Dulaney High School for more than a decade, died of liver disease Sept. 11 at University of Maryland Medical Center. He was 62.

Mr. Smith, who was born in Baltimore and raised in Glyndon, was a 1960 graduate of Milford Mill High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts in 1965 and a master's degree in fine arts in 1969, both from Maryland Institute College of Art.

He began his teaching career in 1965 at Franklin High School, and when Randallstown High School opened in 1969 he became chairman of its art department.

FOR THE RECORD - The caption for the photo of Harold Edward Smith Jr. that appeared with his obituary in yesterday's editions misstated his first name. The Sun regrets the error.

From 1984 until retiring in 1996, he was art department chairman at Dulaney. He also occasionally taught printmaking at MICA.

Since retiring, Mr. Smith had volunteered with AmeriCorps and taught textured printmaking workshops for the blind at the Maryland School for the Blind.

"He was a practicing artist as well as a teacher, and that's what his students loved about him," said his wife of 41 years, the former Betsy Akers.

"Many of them, who were still in contact with him up until the end, considered him a strong and great influence. He always impressed upon them to follow their passions and nurtured their individuality," she said. "He brought out the uniqueness of his students and encouraged expression through their individual talents."

"Ed was one of the most creative and inspiring teachers that I've ever known. He was passionate about art and teaching and set high expectations for his students. And he felt they could be successful," said Linda G. Popp, a friend of 25 years who is art coordinator for Baltimore County public schools.

"He had creative curiosity in everything and he showed them how art was all around them and that they could use anything to express their ideas," she said.

"Ed has always had my deep respect and admiration. He was able to reach so many kids through art that the rest of us couldn't reach," said Maryann Busse, a Dulaney math teacher. "His warm and caring way, not to mention his wonderful talent, provided a haven for so many."

"He was like the Pied Piper - a real magnet for kids," said Elaine Kasmer, who teaches art at Dulaney. "When he left, he gave me his lab coat, and I wear it for good luck."

An accomplished artist who participated in national and regional art exhibitions, Mr. Smith's work included, in addition to printmaking, ceramics, stained glass, textiles, oil and watercolor paintings, drawing, book making and calligraphy.

Mr. Smith was known for his mixed-media pendulum clocks.

"I call them kinetic, mixed-media assemblage sculptures that just happened to be clocks," Ms. Popp said. " ... He was able to tell many stories through his artwork."

Mr. Smith had lived for 19 years in a Henrietta Street rowhouse that he and his wife had restored. Since 2001, they had lived on Montgomery Street.

He enjoyed traveling and was an avid sailor and gourmet cook. He also liked nature, history and writing poetry.

Plans for a private memorial service were incomplete yesterday.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, are a son, Peter T. Smith of Baltimore; a daughter, Jennifer S. Miller of Santa Monica, Calif.; and three granddaughters.

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