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11/15/09 - NNHS Newsletter - Bert Smith

Albert Horton Smith
(1938 - 12 Nov 2009)

 Newport News High School Class of 1956

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   We have still more sad news this morning.      Bert Smith, Class of 1956, passed away after a lengthy illness at his home in Hampton on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at the age of 71.  His siblings include Bob Smith of NM and the late Kathleen Smith Brown.

From the Daily Press - 11/15/09:

                 Albert "Bert" H. Smith




HAMPTON - Albert "Bert" H. Smith, 71, died peacefully at his home Nov. 12, 2009, following a lengthy illness.

Born and raised with his family in Newport News, he graduated from Newport News High School in 1956. He also considered Hampton as his lifelong home since he had a loving relationship with his great-uncle and great-aunt, Albert H. and Florence Barker, whom he lived with and cared for during their senior years.

Bert graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Business Education and proud memories of his participation with the class of 1960 Corps of Cadets. He attended graduate school at the College of William and Mary where he received both his Masters Degree in Education and his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Administration. He also served six years with the Virginia Air National Guard.


Bert Smith



His professional career included thirty years experience in teaching and secondary administration with the Hampton City Public Schools and the York County Public Schools from which he retired. He was a former classroom teacher of math, physical science, economics, and business accounting. He has served as a middle school principal, high school principal, and Director of Secondary Education. As a state and nationally recognized adviser of student government organizations and journalism publications, especially award winning school yearbooks, Bert was always proud of the many accomplishments of his students and his fellow colleagues.

In October 1994 he was inducted into the Virginia High School League's Hall of Fame at Charlottesville for his recognition as a Founding Father of the VHSL Publications Program. In April 1995 he was honored in San Diego by the National Journalism Education Association and was presented its National Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to scholastic journalism.

Bert joined the staff of the Virginia Air & Space Center in March 1992, as it began its official opening in April of that year. He retired from the VASC after 17 years as its Volunteer Coordinator.

He has been an active member and past deacon of First Presbyterian Church Hampton.

Bert was preceded in death by his parents, James J. and Marguerite H. Smith; his sisters, Delia Ann Smith (infant) and Kathleen S. Brown.

He is survived by his wife, Ronda Ellis Smith; his two sons, Kevin B. and wife, Becky of Ramstein AFB, Germany; Shannon E. and wife, Nida of Travis AFB, California; two granddaughters, Annie Lynn and Ellen Elizabeth; his brother, Robert J. Smith of Hobbs, New Mexico; and several nieces and nephews. Bert was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend to many. He was a compassionate man who brightened the day for all who knew him.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church Hampton. The family will receive friends at a visitation-reception at the church immediately following the memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC) for the Bert Smith Memorial, 600 Settlers Landing Rd., Hampton, 23669-4033; or to First Presbyterian Church, 514 S. Armistead Ave., Hampton, 23669.

Arrangements are under the care of R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, Hampton, Va.
View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in the Daily Press from November 14 to November 16, 2009.
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November 14, 2009
Ronda ... my condolences on Bert's passing. It was a pleasure to meet him and chat about old license plates, model trains, and early life in Pasture Point.
~ Tom Norris, Smithfield, Virginia
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November 14, 2009

Dear Ronda, Kevin, & Shannon
Our loving thoughts are with you.
May wonderful memories comfort you.
We will all miss Bert.
Take care of yourselves.
With Love,
~ Aubrey & Rose Marie Tarkington & Family, Chesterfield & Hampton, Virginia
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November 14, 2009

Ronda, God has blessed us with unbelievable memories. I hope we can stay in touch. Bert was a great man in our eyes!
~ Peggy Coalter McConnell, Newport News, Virginia

November 14, 2009

Rhonda and Bert's family. I have known Bert for 16 years of working at the Air and Space Center. He was a friend, a mentor and a major part of the lives of everyone who worked with him and knew him. Know he helped touch so many lives in his time there and he will be truly missed by all.
~ Jason Schreck, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
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November 14, 2009

Dear Ronda and Family:

My name is Jim Ross, and I was one of Bert's docents at the Virginia Air and Space Center until I relocated to Georgia two years ago. Bert and I have remained close by sharing e-mails. My wife and I extend our deepest sympathy for your loss. Bert will be missed in more ways than can be expressed in words. My heart aches at the loss of a dear friend.

~ Jim and Audrey Ross, Powder Springs, Georgia

November 14, 2009

Dear Rhonda,

So sorry for your loss. Bert was a wonderful man and was a great asset to the Virginia Air and Space Center and to IPMS Tidewater. His untiring assistance to tour club and its members will be sorely missed.

Scott A. Bregi
IPMS Tidewater
~ Scott Bregi, Newport News, Virginia
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November 14, 2009

Mr. Smith was an important part of the several thousand students at Pembroke High School. We are grateful for his leadership as the Captain of our Mighty Pirates Corsair as he steered us through our high school years. Thank you, Mr. Smith!
~ Joanne Bluhm, Class of 1973, Springfield, Virginia
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November 14, 2009

To the family of Albert Smith....
I want to express my sadness for you at this time....although I did not know him personally, he was Principal of Pembroke High School, and I will always remember walking across the stage and shaking his hand when I was getting my diploma....He was a GREAT man, My thoughts go out to all of you..
Take care and God Bless, Glenda Vuxta

~ Glenda Vuxta

November 14, 2009

Mr. Smith was an excellent principal in what could have been trying times. His leadership molded Pembroke into the community we became. He'll be missed, but his educational legacy will live for generations. My condolences on your loss.
~ Bill Werb, Plymouth, Minnesota

November 14, 2009

My first year of high school was the year that Mr. Smith guided Pembroke gracefully through its first year of integration. No one could have done a better job. He was a lovely man.
~ Susan Frierson, New York, New York
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November 14, 2009

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
~ Gloria Moody-Coleman, Virginia Beach, Virginia
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November 14, 2009

I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Bert was a gentleman and worked with the members of IPMS Tidewater when we met at the VASC. We enjoyed his company at our meetings. Chris Durden, IPMS Tidewater
~ Chris Durden, Williamsburg

November 14, 2009

Mr. Smith was my high school principal at Pembroke.
I was able to get know Mr. Smith a bit better after reading the beautiful words written about him in this guest book.
May the hearts of his loving family and friends be filled with joyous memories soon.

Julie Jones
Class of 75
~ Julie Semola, Las Vegas, Nevada
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November 14, 2009

Take comfort in knowing that now you have a special guardian angel to watch over you.
~ Janet "Tucker" Blitch, Warner Robins, Georgia
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November 14, 2009

My condolences to the family of Mr. Smith, my high school principal, not too bad a guy.

~ Katy Bolger '73

November 14, 2009

Thanks for your support those many years ago.
~ Mary Henglein, Plant City, Florida

November 14, 2009

Dear Ronda, Kevin and Shannon,
We are so sorry for your loss. Bert was such a wonderful, friendly, and smart man. We always enjoyed his company. May wonderful memories bring you comfort. Love, Roman and Melinda
~ Roman and Melinda Schenkkan, Seaford, Virginia

November 14, 2009

My condolences to the Albert Smith family.
I am a 1972 graduate of PHS and have fond memories of my high school years at Pembroke under the principalship of Mr. Smith. God bless each of you.
~ Janet Robb-Koehler, Grove City, Ohio
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November 15, 2009

My thoughts, prayers and heartfelt sympathy are with the Smith family today as I read the sad news of his passing. We, the students of PHS '70 all held him in the greatest affection and respect. Having spoken briefly with him at the last reunion, I was reminded of the superb job he performed leading the PHS family during those trying times as we matured into adulthood. He will be missed.
~ Ron Bowen, Mesa, Arizona
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November 15, 2009

Mr. Smith was the principal of Pembroke High School. I along with many other students loved and respected him. He was a wonderful man.
May he rest in peace.
God bless his family.
~ Treresa Vance, Virginia

November 15, 2009

Mr. Smith was my HS principal from 1969-1970. He was a wonderful person.
I am sorry for your loss.

Sandra (McKinney) Moreland 1968-1970 PHS
~ Sandra Moreland, Summerville, South Carolina

November 15, 2009

My thoughts and prayers also go to Mr, Smiths' family and to all who were fortunate to have him as our principle and mentor. My best memory of him was when he was sitting on a table in the cafeteria, crossed legs, chatting with a group of us about the tree that had been cut down in front of the school. He always took the time to explain what was happening with the school. God bless all. Dave Floyd, "71"
~ David Floyd, Serafina, New Mexico
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November 15, 2009

Ronda, Kevin and Shannon,
My deepest sympathies and prayers go out to you all in this time of sadness and grief.
May it comfort you to know that Bert was a leader, a friend and a role model for us all at Pembroke. He was loved and well respected and will be missed by all whose lives he touched.
God Bless you all.
~ Judy Rowe-Kirkman (75), Virginia Beach, Virginia

November 15, 2009

Mr. Smith made us all proud to be Pembroke Pirates, and I thank him for the unity that he brought to us all. I enjoyed seeing Mr. Smith at First Presbyterian Church, where he was a servant of God, during the years following my graduation from Pembroke High School in 1974. God bless his family and may you rest in peace knowing that he will live eternally in heaven.
~ Alice White Payne, Poquoson, Virginia

November 15, 2009

As a Pembroke High School graduate, I remember Mr. Smith as a man of dignity and compassion, and by example he taught us to respect others as well as ourselves. He will be missed. To his family, thank you for sharing him with us, and I am so sorry for your (and our) loss. Godspeed, Mr. Smith.
~ Kevin Stroop, Poquoson, Virginia
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November 15, 2009

Mr. Smith was one of my business teachers at Kecoughtan High School (63-66). He was one of my all time favorite teachers! My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
~ Pat (Parr) Barker, Yorktown, Virginia

November 15, 2009

I am sad to hear of Mr. Smith's passing. I am also grateful that he was able to experience the appreciation from the graduates of Pembroke High at the 2007 reunion. How better than to measure your life's work than to witness the results of your life's labors with such appreciation. My memories of Mr. Smith and my classmates have never left me and I am proud to have known them all.
~ Myron Wood 1970, Tulsa, Oklahoma
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November 15, 2009

Please accept my deepest sympathy and prayers at this difficult time.
~ Patricia Phifer LaCarrubba, Somers Point, New Jersey



     Our sincerest sympathies are extended to the entire Smith family, as well as all of Bert's former students and friends.

   This information is also posted here:

  From Patricia Horton Binder ('58) of ? - 11/15/09, 6:09 AM - "   Albert (Bert) H. Smith obituary in today's Daily Press, graduate of NNHS 1956":

He will be missed by all who knew him.

     Thank you, Pat, I was working on this when your note arrived.  My deepest condolences on the loss of your friend.

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty

O God, Our Help in Ages Past

Words by Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David, 1719 (based on Psalm 90)
(17 July 1674 - 25 Nov 1748)

Music, St. Anne, by
William Croft, 1708
(10 Dec 1678 - 14 Aug 1727)

1. O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

2. Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

3. Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

4. Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men”:
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

5. A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

6. The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in foll’wing years.

7. Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the op’ning day.

8. Like flow’ry fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flow’rs beneath the mower’s hand
Lie with’ring ere ’tis night.

9. O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

"O God, Our Help in Ages Past" midi courtesy of - 08/04/09

"O God, Our Help in Ages Past" lyrics courtesy of - 08/04/09

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of – 03/15/05

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 08/12/04

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