Howard L. Smith Sr., a retired Baltimore County public schools science teacher who was a Korean War veteran, died Saturday at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson of complications from a stroke. He was 83.
The son of Charles Smith, a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad foreman, and Agnes Dixon Smith, a homemaker, Howard Lucian Smith was born in Baltimore and raised on Fort Avenue in South Baltimore.
After graduating from Southern High School in 1950, Mr. Smith enlisted in the Navy in 1951, where he served as a physician's assistant. His decorations included the National Defense Medal.
Discharged in 1955, Mr. Smith, aided by the GI Bill of Rights, entered what is now Loyola University Maryland, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1959. Subsequently, he earned a master's degree from what is now Towson University.
Mr. Smith continued postgraduate studies at Loyola, Towson, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
He began his teaching career in 1964 at Parkville High School, where he taught chemistry and biology until retiring in 1987.
After retiring, Mr. Smith continued teaching science and health at Parkville Evening High School from 1987 until 1995. He also taught advanced biology at Israel Henry Beren High School, a division of Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, from 1988 to 1993.
His professional memberships included the National Education Association, Maryland State Education Association and the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.
Mr. Smith was a longtime resident of Towson's Campus Hills neighborhood. He had served on the board of the Campus Hills Community Association from 1981 to 1986.
He also was a longtime active member of American Legion Post 183 in Parkville and the Upper Falls Retirement Club. The retirement club, which has 30 to 35 members, meets every other Thursday to tour interesting places or perform community service projects, with one of their priorities being the Maryland Food Bank, family members said.
"My dad was the most compassionate man I know," said his daughter, Gail Smith Thomas of Towson. "He would do anything for anyone. He was totally devoted to his entire family, and he really cherished family time and gatherings."
Mr. Smith also liked home improvement projects and gardening.
"But his No. 1 hobby was playing bridge, and he was a member of several bridge groups," his daughter said.
Mr. Smith, who played the piano by ear and enjoyed singing, was known to join his siblings at family parties and weddings to "sing in beautiful harmony," Ms. Thomas said.
It was Mr. Smith's custom on Christmas Eve "to sit down with his grandchildren and play a few tunes," said Ms. Thomas.
He was an active member of Divinity Lutheran Church, where he had been a member of the congregational council from 1999 to 2001 and had also served as its president.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at his church, 1220 Providence Road, Towson.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Smith is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Hilda Gail Cadwalader; a son, Howard L. Smith Jr. of Taneytown; a brother, Arthur Smith of White Marsh; a sister, Clara "Betty" Crocetti of Pasadena; two grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and 12 grand-nieces and grand-nephews.