A for-the-record entry that should really be much more: Earlier this week, G.E. Smith, an old friend and one of my English teachers at Crete-Monee High School in the late ’60s and early ’70s, passed away. He died Monday, April 3, in St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, Illinois. He was 81 years, three months, and a day old, a native of the village of Pleasant Hill, near the town of Lexington, in McLean County.
I wrote about him once before, on the occasion of his 80th birthday celebration last year. I’m just one of hundreds of former students and neighbors and distant relatives who became G.E.’s extended family. Every one of us would describe him differently, I’m pretty sure, yet we all saw a lot of the same thing: Someone who poured passion and love into ensuring the well-being and happiness of others, into learning and teaching, into exploring the world through the ideas and people he encountered, into developing a moral understanding of his place in the universe. A powerful example, and he is missed.