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Robert Harold Smith

April 12, 1943 January 3, 2022
Robert Harold Smith
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Obituary for Robert Harold Smith

Robert Harold Smith, 78, of Madison, died January 3, 2022, of complications following emergency surgery.

Bob was born in Findlay, Ohio on April 12, 1943, eight months after the death of his father, Captain Harold C. Smith, in a military plane crash early in World War II.

Bob and his sister, Susanne, were raised by two strong women, their mother, Theodora Varner Smith, and their aunt, Hope Varner. In the early years, the family lived in Ohio, but in 1948 they moved west to the then small city of Tucson, Arizona, where Bob and Susanne enjoyed a happy childhood.

A life-long student and serious reader, Bob earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Arizona, followed by a master’s degree from Claremont Men’s College in California, one of the five Claremont colleges. He also received an MLS degree from Arizona.

Teaching on both the college and high school levels, Bob traveled and taught from California to Wisconsin and Missouri and back to Arizona. He loved sharing his passion for history and politics with students, with family, with friends.

In 2014, when sister Susanne and her husband, The Reverend Sam A. Tomlinson, moved from Natchez to St. Catherine’s Village in Madison, Bob joined them in an apartment “just around the corner”, making the big transition from Arizona to Mississippi. He loved St. Catherine’s, enjoying long walks in his early years there. He loved Mississippi sports, becoming a big fan of both Ole Miss and State. He was also an active participant in the St. Catherine’s Democrats. He and the family were grateful for the devoted care and support he received at St. Catherine’s.

He was an enthusiastic and curious Episcopalian, serving as a long-time usher at a large church in Tucson before joining St. James’ in Jackson. He was a member of the St. Catherine’s Episcopal Chapel congregation and of St. Columb’s Episcopal Church in Ridgeland at the time of his death.

Bob is survived by his loving sister, Susanne, by his caring step-nephews William Tomlinson (Pauline) and Andrew Tomlinson (Jennifer), by a number of cousins, and by kind friends and neighbors at St. Catherine’s.

His life will be celebrated at a later date when the family can gather safely, with interment in the St. Columb’s columbarium near the pet memorial garden where his two beloved cats, Blondie and Sandy, are remembered.

In lieu of flowers memorials to an animal charity or to a food pantry, two causes close to Bob’s heart, would be welcomed.

To send flowers in memory of Robert Harold Smith, visit the Tribute Store.


Event Information

Services to be held at a later date.

Cemetery Details


St. Columb's Columbarium Final Resting Place

550 Sunnybrook Rd
Ridgeland, MS 39157

550 Sunnybrook Rd Ridgeland 39157 MS
United States

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