In Memoriam – Norman Smith, RIC history professor

Norman W. Smith, RIC professor emeritus of history, died Oct. 21. He was 80.

Norman Smith
Smith, a resident of Scituate, began his career at RIC in 1965 as an assistant professor and was promoted to professor in 1975.

Smith retired from the college in 1996. He has a digital bookplate in his name from the Adams Library at RIC, to which he donated several collections of books over the years.

In 1970, he presented a series of six lectures sponsored by the Rhode Island Historical Society titled “Politics and Society – Some New Views of Rhode Island History.” The series, which examined the state from the 18th century through the 1920s, was part of an effort by the Historical Society to update interpretations of Rhode Island history.

Prior to RIC, Smith was an instructor at Hardwick Academy and Essex Junction High School in Vermont, and a teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin.

He earned an AB from Colgate University, an MA from the University of Connecticut and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin. His dissertation was titled “A History of Commercial Banking in N.H., 1790-1843.

His obituary in the Providence Journal notes that he was a decorated veteran of the Korean conflict and a past president of Scituate Rotary who enjoyed outdoor activities and was an avid reader, book collector and listener of classical music.

He leaves his wife, Lola; two sons and a daughter and their spouses; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at on Oct. 31 at 12:30 p.m. at Mathewson St. United Methodist Church, 134 Mathewson St., Providence, R.I. Memorial gifts may be made to Mathewson St. UMC or Scituate Scholarship Foundation, 94 Trimtown Road, Scituate, RI 02857.