William Christian Smith
William Christian Smith passed away after a brief illness on February 3rd, 2012. He was surrounded by his children, Jeremy Christian Smith, and Adrienne Lee Smith and his son-in-law Ziad Tahboub. He was 86.
Christian Smith was born August 20th, 1925 in Temple, Texas. He was the youngest of five children born to William Christian Smith Sr. and Lola Swift Wylie. After graduating from Temple High School, he served in the U. S. Navy as a photographer. He studied at the University of Texas at Austin as well as Mexico City College and the University of Paris, France.
In 1953, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Latin from the University of Texas at Austin. He pursued his love of Latin and Greek, earning a Master of Arts in Greek from the University of Texas in 1964.
He was adventurous and made excursions to New Mexico to mine for gold and California to work as a portrait photographer and Mexico to join a theater group.
He taught Latin, Greek and English at several institutions during his career, including Southeastern Louisiana College and Randolph-Macon College, Virginia, before moving back to Austin where he taught Latin and English at Anderson High School for fifteen years. After retiring, he continued teaching Humanities and Latin at Austin Community College in Austin for many years. He loved teaching and kept friendships with many former students over the years. Numerous students expressed a special fondness for him and would greet him with enthusiasm when out in public. Many times instead of greeting people with the typical "how are you?", he would instead ask, "what have you been reading lately?" or "tell me about your most recent successes". Christian's first love was the Classics but he was also an avid photographer and enjoyed chronicling his travels throughout his life. He loved books, tennis, art, and music. He played the flute and was a member of the GBATTS (Getting Better All The Time Singers), which he often humorously described as "a pleasant sounding illusion".
His love of literature and learning was evident by the informal group meeting held almost every Thursday at his house with local scholars and friends, discussing different works of literature and authors. He was also a member of the British Studies Seminar at the University of Texas at Austin, Friends of the LBJ Library, Friends of the U.T. Austin Libraries, the University of Texas Campus Club and the Texas Retired Teachers Association.
Christian was an energetic and enthusiastic person who brought much joy and the love of learning to his many friends. With his unique way of words, he was always quick with a quote or a witty comment. His perspective of history, international politics and popular culture were refreshing and challenging. For a number of years he gave an informal presentation on kitsch in pop culture, a favorite critique of his.
He is survived by his son, Gavin Smith of Irving, TX, his son, Jeremy, and his wife Sheena Hsu, of New Hampshire, his daughter, Adrienne Smith and her husband, Ziad and their two sons, Zakaria and Ibrahim - all of Austin; and by Henrietta Jacobsen, his longtime companion, and by Carole Smith Graber the mother of Adrienne and Jeremy. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18th in the Chapel of Weed-Corley-Fish Lake Travis in Lakeway, 411 Ranch Road 620 South.
1946 University of Texas Cactus Yearbook. Christian is third from right on back row according to caption, however the young man doesn't look much like Christian. Christian was in NROTC and served in the U.S. Navy.
From 1967, Southeastern Louisiana College Yearbook, Le Souvenir.