From: Carl Kunath, 21 May 2002
A. Richard (Dick) Smith -- NSS 3708F-- 1939-2001
It is with heavy heart that we announce the
of our dear friend and esteemed colleague, A. Richard (Dick) Smith.
Dick was the victim of an apparent robbery turned
homicide as he went to his automobile parked in front of his home the
of 4 July 2001. Loud voices were followed by gunshots and his wife,
discovered him dying on the front porch. At this time, the police have
no suspects and the crime appears without motive.
Dick was born in Odessa, Texas, September 22, 1939
and became a member of the NSS while still in high school. Initially,
attended Rice University as a math major. Consuming interests in
compelled a transfer to the University of Texas at Austin where he met
and married Elizabeth Kelley, fathered two sons, Geren and Preston, and
eventually received a degree in geology. He continued at UT in the
program but the press of family obligations left the Ph.D. unfinished.
While at UT, Dick quickly became extremely active in many facets of the
caving world, but is perhaps best noted for his contributions to the
Speleological Survey. Through the years, Dick served TSS as Editor,
Cartographer and Publisher. Among the 26 publications in the TSS's
four-volume series, Dick is credited as editor or coeditor for 5,
for 7, cartographer for 14, and was on the publication staff for all 26
of those issues and for nearly all subsequent TSS publications. He
drafted and authored hundreds of cave maps and descriptions during his
caving career and contributed countless hours and funds to supporting
speleology through the TSS. Dick also held offices in the UT grotto and
served as chairman of the Texas Speleological Association. He is the
of numerous articles in the caving media and was highly regarded as a
and groundwater geologist by all his peers. Besides Texas, his caving
included trips to New Mexico, Mexico, and Guatemala.
Dick is especially well-remembered by many
writers for his meticulous editorial skills. He could turn a confused,
semi-literate manuscript into a clever, articulate masterpiece.
In September 1997, Dick was awarded the Texas
Survey's Outstanding Service Award at a dinner in his honor in Austin,
Texas. The Outstanding Service Award is the highest honor offered by
TSS and is given to individuals that have made extraordinary long-term
contributions in support of the TSS and Texas speleology. Dick was the
first (and only) recipient of the award.
Although recognized for his enduring body of
works, Dick's intelligence and fellowship have left an even larger
on his long-time friends and colleagues. Carl Kunath tells the
"I knew ABOUT Dick Smith long before I actually
him. On a trip to Indian Creek Cave early in my caving career, I was
with the owner, Fred Mason. Fred asked me if I knew some of the UT
such as Bill Russell, James Reddell, and Dick Smith. I replied that
I knew most of the active cavers I had not yet come face-to-face with
Fred looked thoughtful for a moment, smiled and said, 'That guy's got a
mind like a steel trap! He is the brains behind that UT group. You have
a real treat in store for you!' Fred was right all three times."
We cannot overstate the loss of a gentleman, a
intellectual mind, a sharp wit, a great caver and, above all, an
friend in the fullest sense of that term.
We are diminished.
Carl Kunath (former NSS 6230F)
Gerald Atkinson (NSS 22368)
James Reddell (NSS 4897F)