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Thompson Funeral Home

530 Industrial Parkway South, Aurora, ON

OBITUARY

Geoffrey Read Smith

February 18, 1942December 4, 2019

Smith, Geoffrey Read Suddenly at Southlake Hospital in Newmarket on December 4th. Dearly beloved husband of Ginny (Atkinson) for 53 years. Son of the late Morris and Frances Smith. Beloved brother of Wendy, Doug (Nancy) and Sheila. Dear uncle to 7 nieces and nephews and several great nieces and nephews. Geoff spent 35 wonderful years at St. Andrew’s College as teacher, housemaster, counsellor, coach ,Assistant Headmaster, and friend to many. Following retirement, he spent 12 rewarding years as Principal at Canadian College, Italy. He was also a long-time member of the York Region Amateur Radio Club. (VA3GS) A celebration of life will take place at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora in the Spring. Arrangements entrusted to Thompson Funeral Home. www.thompsonfh-aurora.com. Please visit the website for further information.

Memories

Geoffrey Read Smith

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Esther Mosher

December 15, 2019

Ginny and Family, I wanted to say how sorry I am to hear of your loss. Michelle and I often talk of the fun we had with both of you during your time here in Nova Scotia. I enjoyed my time working under Geoff and I was always grateful for his wonderful support both in my coaching of basketball and teaching History at the School. A wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful and kind man. My thoughts are with you as you start this journey without him. Sending hugs, Esther

Michelle Forrest

December 12, 2019

I was deeply saddened to hear of Geoff’s sudden passing. My prayers go out to you, Ginny, and to your family as you try to come to terms with such a devastating loss. I had only begun teaching – my second career – when I had the great good fortune to have Geoff Smith as my headmaster. I had been hired by his predecessor to teach English, conduct chapel choir, and pull together a play to commemorate the bicentennial of the school. Despite not being a ‘spring chicken’, I was overwhelmed by the chaos of all these competing demands. Fortunately, along came Geoff and Ginny to the school. They were a breath of fresh air in a hidebound environment in which the arts had always been forced to compete with sports for students’ extra-curricular time. This changed under Geoff’s tenure as headmaster and, along with Ginny’s congeniality as hostess extraordinaire to staff, faculty, students, parents, and board members, a new kind of school community began to evolve. Geoff and Ginny’s understanding and appreciation for the arts in education were invaluable, allowing me the leeway to write and produce an historical drama based on the school’s history. Geoff’s credibility as a coach and athlete also worked in everyone’s favour. With his help and encouragement, even some of the school’s top athletes auditioned for lead roles in the production and that whole celebration, including many other events during the year, was one of the most gratifying experiences of my teaching career. I shudder to think what a struggle I might have had in my second year of full-time teaching had it not been for Geoff’s quiet support and encouragement. There was never a concert or performance that went by without him handwriting a personal note of thanks. I keep these to this day. My thoughts are with you, Ginny, in these difficult days, and it is my hope that our paths will cross again one day soon. - Michelle Forrest, Professor of Education, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS

Ross Morrow

December 12, 2019

Although not my house master Geoff made time for me through out my six years at St Andrew's . Playing First Rugger for Geoff for two years was a privilege except of course those early morning runs with "Dad" perched in his car clip board in hand. Thanks for being a big part of those happy years.

Curtiss Boyington

December 11, 2019

Mr. Smith was a brilliant teacher, clever, engaged, and possessed of a very dry sense of humour. He was incredibly kind to me, particularly in my first two years at Saint Andrews when I was struggling to see if I fit the school and the school fit me. He gave me kind words of praise and encouragement at a moment when I really needed them. He pushed me to be active in sports, and started me on a path that would carry me through University. I had many fine teachers at Saint Andrews, but he was the truest of mentors. Thank you for having such a positive impact on my life, and the lives of so many other students. You will be missed by thousands.
-Curtiss Boyington, Class of 89

Guy and Betsy Payne

December 11, 2019

So sorry to hear this and sorry to have lost touch with you both, Ginny. We treasure the time we had with y ou here at Kings, the crazy conversations and whimsical outlook that Geoff brought to what was a complex time in the life of this school. His energy and positive approach will be missed.
Guy found him a pleasure to work with and learned new ways to teach and be a coach. Every student was important to him. an essential position to take for a headmaster. Thinking of you and his family, much love Betsy and Guy

Paul McKenna

December 11, 2019

The ways in which people’s lives intersect is often both remarkable and mysterious. My acquaintance with Geoff Smith began when we heard about his wonderful capacities as a teacher and school administrator from our daughter, who was a student at CCI in Lanciano. We were pleased she appeared to be in such good company at a school so far from home. However, it also became clear that this same Geoff Smith had been a teacher, and guide, to my wife’s friend, Lee Shinkle, who’d attended St. Andrews College for about 8 years in the 1960s. His impact on young lives stretched far and wide.

In the early 2000s, Lee Simpson and I entered a new realm in our knowledge of Geoff, and Ginny, Smith when we joined the faculty of CCI for a most interesting year. Geoff made the transition to this school smoother, simpler, and much more successful than it would otherwise have been. Put plainly, he and Ginny became our friends and colleagues as we navigated the very interesting waters of school life in a foreign country with an eclectic blend of young adults.

Geoff’s kindness, firmness, fairness and intelligence will be a great gift that we will never lose. Our fondest thoughts are with Ginny.

Henri Medina

December 10, 2019

Debbie and I are shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the sudden passing of Geoffrey. We have such nice memories of both of you. Indeed, your coming to KES some thirty years ago was like a breath of fresh air. We were pleased to welcome Geoffrey as our new headmaster and Jenny his lovely wife. Very quickly all the faculty and staff realized that we had among us a wonderful man, whose thoughtfulness and kindness invigorated faculty and staff. His genuine demeanour, dedicated and collaborative leadership have made a lasting impression on all those who knew Goeffrey. His spirit and good humour continue to reverberate in our hearts.
Our deepest sympathy to you, Ginny, and your family. We truly feel honoured that Geoffrey was a part of our life.

Henri & Debra Medina

Paul W Bennett

December 9, 2019

I'm truly saddened to learn of the passing of Geoff Smith, an early mentor of mine during my teaching days from 1974 to 1977 at St. Andrew's College. At my initial faculty welcome reception in September 1974, Geoff approached me and it was only then I learned to my utter amazement that we would both be coaching the new Under 15 Football Team. My first day at SAC was my first day of regular teaching -- and it included a football practice lasting until 5:00 pm. Coaching with Geoff was truly a formative experience and I saw, up close, his dry wit, selflessness, and dedication. More than anyone else, he showed me the ropes and demonstrated what it meant to be a true schoolmaster.

I quickly realized how fortune I was to be working with Geoff, then a Senior Housemaster respected by everyone. He provided quiet advice and support when he saw something was bothering me. Schoolboys can be rough on new teachers until you passed a certain test and Geoff provided me with considerable moral support. After serving as Duty Master in MacDonald House, Geoff took me under his wing at Memorial House. I will never forget his kindness for letting me go home early quite often, sensitive to the fact that I was newly married and lived in Willowdale, quite a drive home at 11 pm after boarding duty.

Geoff and I both shared something else in our careers - we both eventually became headmasters. Everywhere I served as a School Head, I always considered Geoff to be a true exemplar of what it meant to be a schoolmaster in the finest sense of the word. Today, living in Halifax, NS, I regularly chat with former student Peter Moreira about our most memorable SAC days and Geoff always figures prominently in those wonderful conversations. He will be truly missed by all who came to know him as a person, colleague, and teacher.

Paul W. Bennett, Ed.D.
SAC Faculty, 1974-1977
Former Headmaster, Lower Canada College (1997-2005) and Halifax Grammar School (2005-2009).

Michael Edwards 79

December 9, 2019

I knew Geoff since I can remember, age 5 when my brother Charlie Edwards attended St. Andrews College. My father Burley had attended, graduating in 1929 and all of us , my mother Mary K and all classmates from the early days of St. Andrews loved Geoff. We ( those long gone from 1929) all felt he was a giant at St. Andrews. His dry biting wit, broad breadth of interest and knowledge, empathy as a disciplinarian , soft guidance through adolescence and his unquestionable integrity a “ character with character “ made him a leader we sorely needed in times of rebellion , excess and arrogance . Without him, an entire generation would have been vastly different. With him, many of us were able to avoid the “ me generation” molded by him so deeply and so much good, so much better for him.
I talked to him regularly and the week before he passed. Set a dinner date with he and Ginny and another couple or two in Aurora for Christmas time . I will miss him horribly . He left as big a mark as his foot print and he’s ingrained in the bricks at SAC and all who were near him.

Brian Alexander

December 8, 2019

Mr. Smith was an excellent chemistry teacher, although his many endeavours and achievements enhanced other aspects of his students’ lives, as well. I am sorry to hear of his passing and send my condolences.

FROM THE FAMILY