NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
Contact: John J. Glisch, Associate Vice President, Communications
Memorial Service Sunday at EFSC for Author Patrick Smith
February 13, 2014 - Family and friends will celebrate the life of Patrick Smith at a public memorial service Sunday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Simpkins Center (Building 4) on Eastern Florida State College's Cocoa Campus. Smith passed away on January 26 at the age of 86.
Smith was the popular author of one of the most celebrated Florida historical novels, "A Land Remembered," which chronicles three generations of a fictional Florida family that rises from a poor Cracker lifestyle in the 1850s to become real estate tycoons in the late 1960s.
Published in 1984 while Smith was still serving as the public relations director for then Brevard Community College, now EFSC, the novel's student and adult versions are still used throughout Florida schools. Smith's lifetime work was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1985. He also was nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize.
He came to BCC in 1966 and continued as the public relations director until his retirement in 1986. Dr. Joe Lee Smith, now the college ambassador and executive advisor to the president, worked alongside Patrick Smith during the author's 22-year BCC career. Below Dr. Smith shares his memories of the man he calls a "wonderful colleague and inspiration."
"Patrick Smith was a very reserved and soft spoken Southern gentleman, scholar, director of public relations, and prolific writer who I met on my first day of work at then Brevard Junior College, now Eastern Florida State College, when I joined the college as Director of Student Activities on July 1, 1970.
"Throughout our time working together and beyond, he was one of the most sincere, humble and professional men I have ever worked with. Although he was low key and did not talk very much, he seemed to always enjoy being in the midst of conversations with students, faculty, staff and people in the community.
"Back then, we did not have nearly the number of students and employees we have now. However, he would remember everyone’s name and his conversation with them. We all thought he had a photographic mind which blended so well with his light smile, Southern accent and sincere interest in the discussion or activity at hand.
"Working on his novels and papers, he would occasionally find a way to bounce some of his thoughts off colleagues and visit with them. I specifically remember him talking about his visits to migrant worker camps in South Florida and spending extensive time among the migrant farm workers, their families, and their living and working conditions.
"From this venture came the novel and later movie “Angel City.” I would be remiss if I did not mention his soul stirring novel “A Land Remembered” in which he talked about the natural beauty of Florida and the challenges facing the state’s pioneers.
"He was straight-forward, truthful, dedicated and receptive to ideas and opinions. He was a wonderful colleague and inspiration to me and countless others. We shared some wonderful moments together discussing the blessings, problems and successes of the world.
"I am so glad and thankful that on this lifelong journey, I had the opportunity to have met and worked with him."