Celebrating the Life of Dr. Joseph A. Smith

Reflection Cybil shared at the memorial service of Joseph Anthony Smith, a long-term RHF SilverSneakers® member (and formerly Becca's principal at Rainier Beach High School). 

Joseph (pictured right) regularly attended RHF's SilverSneakers® 8:00 AM class 

Joseph (pictured right) regularly attended RHF's SilverSneakers® 8:00 AM class 

I met Joseph over 40 years ago when I applied for a teacher trainer position in the Teacher Corps program. Joe was the administrator in charge of the program. Teacher Corps was a program the University of Washington and the Seattle Public School system partnered to train teachers.

I learned while working in this position that Joe and I had similar philosophies of education. Several years later I was appointed to a vice principal position at Garfield High School and Joe was appointed to an administrative position to direct what was then called Garfield Alternative School. The school was on the verge of being closed. When Joe shared this information with me, Dr. Reasby, the assistant superintendent was scheduled to make the decision after meeting with Joe and the meeting was scheduled for the next day. 

I offered to help Joe develop a program for the school. Joe and I worked until midnight developing a curriculum for the school, while my late husband kept our coffee cups filled and fed us popcorn. Reasby was impressed with the outcome. 

Joe was good at writing proposals. He helped me write proposals. He knew how to get around District politics. I remember at least one of my proposals was funded. Through the years we worked together on other school district projects. 

I later met Darrilyn, Joe's late wife. Darrilyn worked in a school where I was a principal. We became good friends, but she always introduced me as Joe's friend, not as her principal. We often had long walks at Seward Park and later at other parks and continued our friendship through the years. 

Recently I shared my concern about Joe's health with my companion. He replied, "Which Joe? Our Joe?" I said, "Yes, our Joe." 

Joe had the closest thing to a perfect attendance in a senior exercise class at the Rainier Health & Fitness Center and in addition to that, he was a "teacher's pet." You see, the teacher [Becca] graduated from Rainier Beach High School when Joe was a principal there. Joe was admired by all the seniors in the class. Many express sadness because they would be out of town today and unable to help celebrate Joe's life at his services. We shall all miss Joe.