Robert Hooper Smith, 78, investment adviser, painter

April 18, 2006|By FRANK D. ROYLANCE | FRANK D. ROYLANCE,SUN REPORTER

Robert Hooper Smith, an investment adviser in Baltimore and a skilled watercolor painter, died of complications from prostate cancer April 10 at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Baltimore. He was 78.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Smith graduated from the Calvert School in 1938. He then attended the Middlesex School, a boarding school in Concord, Mass., but left in 1944 to join the Navy. He entered the Naval Reserve in 1945 and served as a pharmacist's mate third class in East Coast military hospitals until he left the service in 1947.

Returning to Baltimore, Mr. Smith enrolled at the Gilman School, where he earned his diploma in 1948. He then attended Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and earned a bachelor's degree in the fine arts in 1952.

In 1955, he married Sita Kurkjian, wooing her in a 1952 Jaguar 120, according to his son, Harrison Hooper Smith of Baltimore.

He held a series of jobs in the insurance business and worked at the Society for the Blind in Baltimore before he began a career in the investment business. In 1957, Mr. Smith became an assistant trust officer with the Equitable Trust Bank in Baltimore, according to his wife. He later worked for Gruntal & Co., and in 1968 joined W.E. Hutton & Co.

In 1977, he started with the Fidelity Deposit Co., where he worked for 16 years as a bond portfolio manager. He retired in 1996.

Mr. Smith was a talented watercolorist. For a time in the 1950s, he studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art, his wife said. And he returned to his art after retirement, taking courses at the Mitchell School of Fine Arts in Baltimore.

Mr. Smith never knew his father, who left the family soon after his son was born and died of pneumonia when Mr. Smith was 6 years old, said Harrison Smith.

"He had a real hole in his heart for a male role model while growing up, so he had times when he embraced the downtrodden and disenfranchised," he said. "He was a very kindhearted and a good person."

He volunteered in the 1970s and 1980s as an inmate pre-release counselor for the Maryland Division of Correction.

When Mr. Smith's mother-in-law came from Baghdad, Iraq, in 1958 to visit, she became stranded and was left destitute by political upheaval back home, his son recalled. "He ... set up a room for her in the house and she lived with us for over 30 years," he said.

Mr. Smith was a member of the Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Woodbrook. He also belonged to the Maryland Club and the Wednesday Club in Baltimore.

Services were held Friday at Brown Memorial Church. Interment followed at Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Smith is survived by two daughters, Lisa Smith Cox of Angel Fire, N.M., and Nora Smith Baker of Fairfield, Pa.; a sister, Emily Dale Smith of Westminster; and five grandchildren.

frank.roylance@baltsun.com

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