Friday, August 13, 2010

In Memoriam

I regret to inform you that our friend and colleague Dan Smith succumbed to heart failure Monday, August 9, 2010.

Dan came to FCNL from The Center for Defense Information in 2002 to be our first Senior Fellow on Military Affairs. Dan was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He completed a distinguished military career -- one that began with the U.S. war in Vietnam and concluded with the first U.S. Gulf War in Iraq -- at the rank of colonel. Defense intelligence was his specialty. Dan would have been 67 on August 15.

Dan loved working for FCNL, and he made a perfect fit with us. He exercised a deep respect for the force of truth, which he sought through careful research and fact finding. What he found, he posted on this blog, which he named "The Quakers' Colonel." He enjoyed the incongruity of that name, although it confounded some who wanted a simpler world with clear boundaries.

He knew the power of love to transform individuals and the world, and he sought to align himself and his work with that power which takes away the occasion of all war.

Judith Smith, Dan's wife, called to let me know that Dan had slipped away peacefully. Judith had one simple request. Could FCNL keep Dan's blog up where she could visit it for a while? Of course we will, and we invite readers of "The Quakers' Colonel" to leave Judith and Dan's family condolence messages in the comments section.

Joe Volk
Executive Secretary


Blogger Bridget Moix said...

Dear Judith and Family,

We at FCNL will dearly miss Dan and feel so honored to have had him on our staff and in our lives. It was a gift to us and a great contribution to FCNL's work to have him share his expert knowledge and first-hand experience of military issues, his love of philosophy, and the beautiful classical music that drifted from his work station and calmed our spirits. I personally will miss him as a teacher and friend, and send you my heartfelt sympathy as you say goodbye and celebrate his life.

In peace,

10:27 AM  
Blogger Joan Gunn Broadfield said...

Dear Judith and family,

I met Dan early in his FCNL career, being very familiar with the Center for Defense Information, and valued the role he played to help our nation know the cost of militarism. He manner was always one of warm friendliness, and his columns were important to the public discourse. I will miss his voice! Holding you and your family in the Light and in Love...

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Gail Lelyveld said...

Dear Judith and Family,

It is Friday after Dan's death. I heard about it today, and I want to say how sorry I am right away. I was the receptionist from 2007-2009; so I saw and spoke to Dan often. I enjoyed his greetings everyday. He came in a couple of times after I became a volunteer receptionist and it was nice to see him. I think the last time was in February. I was going to send you 2 cards since then. I will try to visit you by card now, but obviously I won't be a pest.

Holding you in the light,

Gail Lelyveld

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Wilmer and Joan Tjossem in Iowa said...

We offer the family our sympathy and appreciation.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Dorsey said...

Dear Judith and family,
I am sorry for your loss. We will miss Dan's wisdom and reminder that the world is not as simplistic as many would have us believe. He was a gift to FCNL and thank you for supporting his work with us.
Dorsey Green
Clerk, General Committee

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Tim Barner said...

Dear Judith and family,

Dan and I met when he spoke to the World Federalist Assn in 1999 and it was my good fortune that we could renew a friendship when Dan arrived here at FCNL as the U.S. beat the Iraq war drums. Dan shared a passion for creating alternatives to war and the possibilities of the United Nations. I will miss his hallway chats where I got a glimpse of the breadth of his vision and networks of friends. I celebrate his life of great courage and commitment to peace.


1:08 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Dear Judith and family,

We will long remember all the gifts and talents that Dan shared with FCNL over the years that he was part of our witness. I join with others in sending sympathy and in holding you all in the Light.

Warmly, in peace,
Gretchen Hall

2:31 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Dear Judith and Family,

I'm very sorry to hear this news. I was an intern at FCNL from 2007-2009, and though I didn't often work closely with Dan, he did agree to help me out on my fledgling podcast project during my second year. I'll always remember his willingness to help me with this.

If you want to hear the podcast we recorded about the Iraq War, it's still posted on the intern blog.


3:26 PM  
Blogger E. Garnet Fay said...

Dear Judith,

We will miss Dan greatly. He was quiet and gentle, clear and focused, and he spoke with strength based on his perceptions of the truth. He continues as an important part of the FCNL family.
E. Garnet Fay

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Barbara Platt said...

Dear Judith and family, I was so sorry to learn of Dan's passing this week. I met Dan when he first came to FCNL, and always treasured his perspective, his quiet wit, and his calm wisdom. Although we didn't work closely together, I appreciated his dedication to "all staff" fundraising tasks - each year for many years he devoted time to write to dozens of FCNL donors encouraging them to support our work. Gifted writer that he was, Dan's letters were standouts. He brought so much to our whole staff. I will miss him. We are holding you and your family in the Light, Barbara Platt

7:51 PM  
Blogger Jason R. Tippitt said...

Dear Judith and family,

Your family's loss is a loss to a wide community and to the world he was helping to change. I've never commented here before, but I found his words in this blog insightful and such a change of pace from the usual "military experts" on TV.

I thank you for sharing him with the FCNL and, through this blog, with the wider world. He was a voice of sanity, a voice for good.


10:14 PM  
Anonymous Alicia McBride said...

Dear Judith and Family,

I worked most closely with Dan when FCNL was in its temporary office space on 18th Street. We sat in the same "pod." I always knew he had arrived in the office (usually a good deal before me!) because I would hear his classical music playing as soon as I came in the door. The second summer I worked at FCNL I got married and I remember how thrilled Dan was when he realized that we would share a wedding anniversary. He told me it was a good day to have a wedding. I also worked with Dan to set up this blog. I was always impressed with how Dan could tie together such a wide range of ideas and subject matters into one blog post. When we would need to summarize the post to include in a publication or email, my interns would say "how can I summarize something so Dan-esque?" That describes him well--uniquely himself, and difficult to summarize! I will miss working with him and hearing the fascinating ways his mind works.


8:15 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Dear Judith and Family.

I was saddened to hear of Dan's death and offer my deepest sympathy to you. Dan and I shared a love of classical music and I well remember a conversation we had about Beethoven's 9th, with its beautiful vision of brotherhood. Eyes twinkling, Dan said, "we have a ways to go." Indeed we do. But thanks to his service at FCNL, we are wiser and more courageous about seeking and end to war.
in peace, Margaret Mansfield

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Chris Hellman said...

Dan was my colleague, mentor, and friend at CDI for more than five years. Every piece of work I did while he was there benefited from his wisdom, his insight and his editing. In later years when he would call on me for assistance, I was always proud and eager to help. Despite his many gifts he was always quiet and unassuming. I can think of few people who were as respected and liked by his peers. I will miss him very much.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Rachael said...

Dear Judith & Family,
I just finished a year with FCNL as an intern and while I didn't get the opportunity to work closely with Dan, he was a much respected member of the FCNL family. I greatly enjoyed reading his posts here on the blog and looking back to his past publications - all of which expressed his deep commitment to peace and explaining the ever-complicated workings of the military. Dan will be missed a great deal.
In peace,

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Jeanne Herrick-Stare said...

Dan and I started working at FCNL at about the same time, and we officed together, sharing the "small conference room" in the old building. We were the first ones in the building each morning and kept a secret stash of coffee together so we wouldn't run out! When FCNL moved downtown to temporary quarters, his carrel was next to mine, and when we moved back into the newly rebuilt building, our work spaces were adjacent. We ate together; we went to meetings together; we reviewed and commented on each others' work; we had each other's backs. He would put on a classical CD and turn to me and ask: wasn't I in the mood for that one? and smile his sweet little smile. And, when he was writing, he would forget and "sing" along (completely off-key), loving the space he was in. His eyes would go soft when the conversation turned to his dear Judith. Dan has a place of comfort and love in my heart for all the days of my life.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Dear Judith and Family,

Among my most cherished memories as I leave FCNL after nearly four years will be those of my group discussions and private conversations with Dan. He always brought fresh insights to our discussions of war and peace in the greater Middle East. He always offered wise advice and patient instruction in our one-to-one conversations attempting to discern where errant U.S. policies were taking us and how we could best work to achieve lasting peace. I will always remember his conviction born of deep experience that “there is never a good war.” I feel privileged to have worked with Dan and miss him. May you be comforted in your loss by knowing how much he meant to his colleagues at FCNL and how much he did in his lifetime to persuade his fellow citizens that war is not the answer.

Jim Fine

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was really sad to learn today about Dan's passing.

He was always helpful, looking for ways he could be supportive of FCNL's Native American advocacy program (which I directed at the time). That was like Dan to look for common ground, goals, and interests. Sometimes we talked about our experience as college professors.

Dan was so amusing during staff meetings. Those little asides.

Pat Powers

3:45 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Dear Judith,

I was an FCNL Field intern from 2008-2009. Though I didn't work closely with Dan, I appreciated his kind personality and it was obvious that he played a crucial role in FCNL's work. When I'd meet with our constituents, they would frequently ask me how he was, and rave about how much experience and wisdom he brought to FCNL. Dan's work was so appreciated by so many people across the country.

I'm holding you and your family in the light during this difficult time.


3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read Dan's comments over the years and have great respect for him. May his spirit live on in a new generation of peaceful warriors.
Blessings to Dan in his transition and to his family in theirs.
in Delaware

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Cushman Anthony said...


I was a Friend in Washington semi-volunteer employee for five months when FCNL was in its temporary quarters, and got to know Dan then. I was constantly impressed by his ability to draw ideas from many different sources, and apply them to whatever the situation at hand consisted of. He had a remarkable skill at that.

I also greatly enjoyed his sense of humor, which he kept pretty well hidden much of the time, but brought forth at just the right occasions. I also shared his love of classical music, and enjoyed the discs that he played when he first arrived at work each morning My carrel was near his, and I also often got there on the early side, but I can only remember one time when I arrived earlier than he did.

Cush Anthony

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Aura Kanegis said...

Dear Judith,

I was so saddened to learn of Dan’s passing – my thoughts are with you and I join all here in holding you and your family in the light.

I deeply respected Dan’s sharp intellect, but it was his quick, desert-dry wit that made him a beloved colleague whose memory I will cherish forever. I remember sitting next to Dan when I first returned to FCNL in 2005, as we were briefed about an upcoming event to celebrate the new building - when plans for inviting members of congress were outlined, he quietly suggested that we hold the event on the roof... and remove the rope from the edge. From then on I always looked for a seat near Dan for all-staff functions – it was always the best seat in the house.

Dan's intellect and keen powers of observation were an amazing gift to our community and our cause. Thank you for sharing his time with us.

In sadness and gratitude,

10:32 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I began my work as an FCNL intern in the fall of 2002, one month before Congress voted to authorize Bush's Iraq invasion plans. Those were difficult times, and I relied on many members of FCNL's staff for guidance. Dan was a deeply grounding presence, and I loved working with him so much.

I edited many of his first pieces, and like Alicia I remember marveling at the breadth of material he could cover in a single article, always with a thematic thread running through the center. I can still remember the titles and contents of some of those pieces that I posted to the old FCNL site 8 years ago.

Much love to you and yours during this time. I am glad Dan got to see the last month of combat operations in Iraq, although I know he would want us to remember how much further we have to go.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Paul Barker said...

Judith and family,

I am saddened to learn of Dan's death. I met Dan on a visit to the FCNL office while I was the director of CARE's programs in Afghanistan and in transition to Sudan. I greatly appreciated his unique insights in the search for truth and peace in highly complex and volatile situations. We need his vision and wisdom as much now as ever. His memory will long be with us.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Helena Cobban said...

Dear Judith and family--

Thank you so much for sharing Dan and his wisdom with Quakers so generously in what might otherwise have been his "retirement" years!

He was such a gentle soul; and I always thought his gentleness came from him having a strong core of spirituality, which he described to me once as "kind of Buddhist."

He was quite right to note, repeatedly, that all wars damage everyone who comes in contact with them-- those bereaved by them; those wounded by them; the residents of war zones; and also those who fight in them.

I miss his quiet but incisive wisdom so much.

Comfort and support to you in your bereavement. I am sure you'll be missing him in hundreds of ways that the rest of us can't even imagine.

~ Helena Cobban
Friend in Washington, 2007-08.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Vietnam Veteran I looked forward to comments from Dan. He will be missed.

10:33 AM  
Blogger eleaver said...

Dan's writing and advocacy exposed policymakers, grassroots activists, and the progressive community to well reasoned alternatives to many of our destructive policies. He will be sorely missed.

The staff of Foreign Policy In Focus

10:35 AM  
Blogger Bill. Jeffries said...

Dear Judith and Family,

I always looked forward to seeing Dan at FCNL General Comittee in Nov. We'll miss his quiet, friendly presence, as well as his insightful writings!


Bill Jeffries

12:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Hawkins said...

Dear Judith and Family,
Dan's blog was one of the things I turned to every day to see if there was something new--until he stopped posting and my heart already grew sad, for something was clearly wrong. I respected him so much and learned so much from him. Both his mind and his heart were in the right place, and I will miss him.

Bruce Hawkins

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Judith and Family,
I had the honor of lobbying with Dan on issues related to the Iraq war in the offices of our
Washington State legislators as well as to talk with and learn from him at several FCNL annual meetings. What a guy!
I always felt that his knowledge and wisdom were vast and that I was just hearning the tip of what he knew and understood.
It was a deep privilege to be around Dan and his contribution to the work of FCNL was powerful.
Thank you, Dan, and thank you dear family of Dan for sharing him with us!

With sympathy,
JOyce Victor
Washington State

2:00 AM  
Blogger Bush Quaker said...

I greatly valued reading Dan's unique perspective and insight, and will greatly miss that wisdom as we face further conflicts and crises in the future

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Tracy Moavero said...

I missed this news until just now. I really enjoyed working with Dan during my time at FCNL. He brought a much needed perspective to peace work, along with a wealth of knowledge. I have to add, though, that I especially loved his sense of humor. Just when you least expected it, he'd slip a joke into an otherwise serious conversation or a presentation. I have a particularly fond memory of speaking at an ecumenical lobby day with him. His work will continue to inspire me. Sending my sympathy to Dan' family and many friends.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous William Hobson said...

Catching Dan Smith for conversation at the Annual Meeting of the General Committee has been, for me, one of the highlights of our annual cycle. It was one of the things that so inspired me about FCNL. (I admit to blatantly bragging to various Friends in the West about our Colonel and how unique we were, partly as a result of Dan's service with FCNL.) Knowing the roots of Quakerism in the period of the English Civil War and how many soldiers from that period came to Quakerism, I knew Dan's commitment to and service with FCNL as well as his insights to be wonderfully consistent with the history of our sect. We will all miss him. We can take some solace in knowing that his impact will be a continuing one. We hold him in the light. Our prayers go with him and his wife Judith.
William Hobson

7:01 PM  
Blogger Don said...

May God bless you and your family. Dan was a light of truth in a world that needed it. Have a blessed Christmas season. I only recently learned of his death.

10:03 AM  

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