John M. Taylor Funeral Home

147 Duke Of Gloucester St, Annapolis, MD


Robert "Skip" Smith

August 22, 1930September 9, 2019

On Monday, September 9, 2019, Robert Bole (Skip) Smith, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away at the age of 89.

Skip was born on August 22, 1930 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was the son of the late Margaret Hare Smith Hurst-Brown and Kenneth Hurst-Brown. He attended Matthew Whaley School in Williamsburg before graduating from Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia as a member of the Honorary Society and Howie Rifles. He also attended Cornell University before transferring to William and Mary College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business and was a member of Scabbard and Blade and ROTC (Honorary Society).

Skip honorarily served during the Korean War in Germany, 1st Division, Army Artillery. He also had a passion for fire safety. He served in multiple roles for the Williamsburg, Virginia Fire Department. In addition, he was a senior instructor at the University of Maryland Fire Service Extension for ten years before serving as Fire Marshal of Montgomery County, Maryland from 1967-1977. Skip was also Executive Secretary of the Fire Marshal’s Association of North America for 12 years.

Those who knew Skip knew that he was an active sailor from a very young age, partaking in multiple races throughout his lifetime to include: Nova Scotia, east coast of the United States, Bermuda Race in 1982, and Isla Muheres, a race to Mexico, in 1995 and 1997, in which they took first place. In addition, Skip sailed from Annapolis to the Bahamas for 18 years.

Skip, a devoted Christian, was an Elder in the Adelphi, Maryland Presbyterian Church and Colesville Presbyterian Church and an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis. He also went on two mission trips to Haiti.

Skip was a loving husband to Gerri Smith for over 57 years. Together, they raised three children, Jeffrey (with Beth) of Edgewater, Patricia of Columbia, and Ken (with Susan) of Columbia. Skip was also the cherished “Pa Bear” to granddaughters Nicole, Taylor, Christy and Kelly.

Skip was known for his quick wit, infectious smile, and kind and compassionate spirit. His motto for everyone he met was, “always leave them smiling,” and he never failed to do so.

A Memorial Visitation will be held on Friday, September 13 from 4 to 7pm at the John M. Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, MD. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, September 14 at 11:00 am in First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, 171 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, MD. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made for the recovery of the Abacos in the Bahamas through PayPal using Htvfr.foundation@gmail.com (Hope Town Fire and Rescue).


  • Memorial Visitaion Friday, September 13, 2019
  • Memorial Service Saturday, September 14, 2019


Robert "Skip" Smith

have a memory or condolence to add?

Robert Solomon

September 14, 2019

I met Skip in the summer of 1981 while interning at the VA in Washington, DC at a small lunch organized by Dr. Bryan. Listening to Skip describe his experience and the work he was doing for NFPA at the time seemed really interesting and definitely a great place to work. I joined the NFPA staff in 1986 and got to work with him until in his retirement. What-a-guy. Knowledgeable, wise, generous, and a great sense of humor. It is these small encounters in life like a lunch that can leave lasting impressions. I'm sure Skip had that impact on many others.

Robert Solomon

Steven Sawyer

September 13, 2019

On behalf of the officers and members of the International Fire Marshals Association (FMANA) our deepest sympathy in the loss of Skip. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Stephen McLaughlin

September 13, 2019

Skip was like a second father to me in my youth, when the Smiths and McLaughlins cruised the Chesapeake Bay together on Yellow Bird and Lightfoot, respectively; so I'm heartbroken not to be able to attend his memorial service due to being away this week, but I'm sending condolences and prayers (from Jerusalem) to all his loved ones. To Gerri, Jeff, Patti, and Ken especially, I share deepest sympathies. Love, Steve

Rockville Volunteer Fire Department Rockville, Maryland

September 11, 2019

On behalf of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, Rockville, Maryland, we pass along our condolences to the family of Robert “Skip” Smith,

David Dwyer

September 11, 2019

I was one of a multitude of fire and rescue personnel in Montgomery County, MD who knew and worked with Skip. He was a pleasure to be with and a solid asset for our emergency services system. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in peace.

David S. Dwyer
Past Chief