Russell T. Smith, 81, a long-time former resident of Grosse Pointe Farms, was born in Scotland and passed away July 29 at Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit. With his parents and twin brother, he relocated to the United States in 1949, following the end of World War II. He sang in the Men and Boys Choir of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul for 20 years, began study for an Episcopal priesthood and then changed course to become an educator. During his teen and college years, he worked part-time for Ackroyd’s Scottish Bakery to pay college tuition. Russ earned three degrees from Wayne State University, specializing in history and school administration and worked for 30 years as a teacher, supervising teacher, and administrator for the Detroit Public Schools.
Russ played soccer from a young age in Scotland and was a big fan of team sports. He served as team coach for four years for both of his children during their early years. He also coached his son’s floor hockey team and served as a soccer referee for the Neighborhood Club. Russ was an excellent teacher, role model, and mentor for all players on his team, and he was a respected coach in the league. When he wasn’t coaching, he was attending his daughter’s soccer games and his son’s baseball games, supporting them all the way.
After his first retirement, Russ worked part-time for 17 years as a docent at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores and continued to share his wit and expertise with new friends and colleagues.
Russ very much loved his family, his cats, the Detroit Tigers, traveling, live theatre, music, and singing at his local church.
He was a generous, kind, and altruistic individual. He had a unique sense of humor and enjoyed making everyone laugh. Russ was generally the center of attention at social gatherings and certainly enjoyed the spotlight! He accompanied his wife on genealogy trips both here and abroad and cheerfully attended numerous activities with her.
An excellent husband, father, and teacher, Russ left an everlasting impression on those he touched. Russ is survived by his wife, Grace, children Stephanie (Tim) and Andrew (Leslie), five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, brother-in-law,
John (Mary), and several cousins in Scotland. Russ passed away in the presence of his loving family. Our Russ was one of kind and will be sorely missed.
A memorial service is planned for 11:00 A.M., Saturday, September 28, at St. John the Apostle Anglican Church, 18401 Canal Rd., Clinton Twp., MI 48038. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made out to St. John the Apostle Anglican Church, Attn: Russell T. Smith Memorial Fund and mailed to the church. Condolences to the family may also be sent in care of the church.