Adrian “Duke” Smith, my father, died on Monday, Jan. 7, after a brief bout with cancer. He was 84.
Dad was passionately involved in my home town—
He left his best gift to me for last: a true appreciation of what life is really about. For Dad, giving was both the greatest pleasure and the highest good. And I give the most emphasis to the pleasure aspect, because giving to other people—embracing them with his friendship, humor, and love—was Dad’s favorite way of having fun. He loved being with people, laughing and playing games, the feeling of togetherness with family and friends. He wasn’t afraid to be silly or tender or sentimental. He was also a lifelong liberal, and he taught me the values of honesty, understanding, and generosity that are the hallmarks of true liberalism.
I slept in his room at our old house the night before I flew back home. In the morning, I picked up what I thought were my shoes, to put them on. But they were his shoes. And it occurred to me that I could never fill them.
Thank you, Dad, for showing me the way. Your love will always be with me.