Today at 11:00 a.m at the First Presbyterian Church in Eureka, a memorial service was held for Nathan Smith, who taught African-American history at Humboldt State University from 1986-2001.
On November 16, 2017, Smith passed at 91-years-old while surrounded by his family and loved ones at Stanford University Hospital. Smith and his family are well-known in the local community–where his daughter in particular, Liz Smith, has occupied various leadership roles.
Born January 8, 1927, in Ohio and the eldest of four boys, Smith was drafted into the U.S Air Force during World War II in 1945 and spent many years traveling during his military service.
After 18 years with the Air Force, he retired in 1971 as Chief Master Sergeant.
During his time in the army, Smith obtained both a B.A and a Master Degree in U.S history, Political Science and International Relations (respectively) from San Fransisco State University and the University of Maryland.
During the memorial Smith was honored for his service and the American flag was folded and presented to his family.
The Ferndale Choir was present and sang songs directed by Betty Diehl.
Various friends of the Smith family spoke and reflected on Smith’s life and legacy.
Afterwards, there was food in the reception area of the church, where a few different collages with pictures of Smith and his family were set up for viewing.
“An avid learner of literature and life, Nate continued his academic achievements with courses from Wayne State University in Detroit and Cambridge University in England. Upon retiring from the airforce he took a full-time assistant professor position at Anchorage Community College teaching Political Science and History, until he took a leave of absence to pursue his doctorate in Afro-American History at the University of Minnesota in 1972. This is also where he met his soon to be wife Pisila Taufe’ulungaki who was pursuing her doctorate as well. When Nate had a passion, he pursued it with persistence, perseverance and appreciation. They wed in June 1974.
For the next 43 years Nate’s life was filled with the following services, activities and achievements. Alaskan Humanities Forum (1971-72), History Teacher Assistant (1972-74), Part-time as a Lecturer and Counselor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (1973), Research Fellow for the Associate Dean for Administration and Assistant Dean For Personnel with the College of Liberal Arts (1974-75), Lecturer in Social and Behavioral Sciences General College (1978-85)–amongst a slew of other achievements and roles. He was active in community involvement and was the former president and lifetime member of the Eureka NAACP. He participated in various choir activities and sang with the Eureka Presbyterian Church, the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir, the Ferndale Community Choir and the Humboldt Harmoniers.
He is survived by his wife and their two children Elizabeth and Nathaniel as well as his son Nathaniel III, two daughters Kitty and Brigetta, son-in-law Jeff and three grandchildren. Smith also survives his younger brother Bernard and his wife Margaret, their children and numerous nieces and nephews.
Contributions can be made to the Nathan Smith Memorial Scholarship fund at Wells Fargo Bank.”