October 29, 1938 - October 25, 2021
Beloved husband, father, neurosurgeon, friend, neighbor, and colleague, Randall “Randy” William Smith, M.D., died on Oct. 25, 2021. Randy was born on Oct. 29, 1938, in Minneapolis, Minn. He grew up in Seattle, Wash., with his parents and twin siblings, Rodney and Jill. After graduating from Stadium High School and then the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., he obtained his medical degree in 1965 from the University of Washington. His training continued with an internship at Boston City Hospital after which he completed his training in neurological surgery at the University of Washington under the tutelage of Arthur A. Ward, Jr., M.D. His lucky star was smiling at him when he met and married the love of his life Florence “Flo” Beale, on Dec. 18, 1962. Flo worked as a nurse and then nursing instructor at the University of Washington, which helped support Randy during his training. She was his partner in every one of his endeavors and accomplishments. Dr. Smith served our country in an active-duty capacity and as a USAF reservist and Captain from 1965 to 1971 and was stationed at Osan airbase in South Korea after the Pueblo capture activated his medical unit. His service helped fund his training (through the GI Bill) and made it possible for him to purchase his first house with a VA mortgage in San Diego. Dr. Smith joined the faculty in the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of California San Diego in 1971. He helped establish the neurosurgery program in the new School of Medicine with John Alksne, M.D., heading the division. He served on the faculty until 1981, at which time he left for private practice. He covered emergency call until 1993, when he celebrated the “retirement” of his beeper by smashing it with a hammer after a celebratory dinner with his family. During this period, he continued to hold a clinical appointment at UCSD. He loved teaching and mentoring residents and junior colleagues as a part of the university and as a member of neurosurgical societies. He continued performing surgery until 2004, when he switched to carrying out agreed medical examinations for the next decade. Although he retired from the “practice” of neurosurgery in 2004, he never retired from “neurosurgery.” He remained involved and was the founder of several important neurosurgical and neurological societies. He served in leadership capacities in many local, state, regional and national organizations. Dr. Smith received many awards for his stellar career – many inspired by his selfless and enduring service. He was also a leader in his local medical community and served as Chief of Staff at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Dr. Smith was a renaissance man. His interests were varied and extended beyond neurosurgery. He was a farmer and spent weekends working and producing avocados on his farm in Escondido, Calif. He was a woodworker and produced not only artistic, but also flawless pieces. He was a music lover and supported of various musical groups and societies in San Diego. He was a sports lover and his encyclopedic memory allowed him to quote what had happened in championship games of baseball and football, going back many years. He loved photography and his photos of his children and travels that he developed in his home darkroom demonstrated his skill. He was a philanthropist and supported local educational, medical, and musical foundations. He was a writer and edited many neurosurgical publications for his societies. Randy was a man of integrity, of scientific curiosity and discipline and applauded hard work. He did not take himself seriously and he enjoyed great admiration and respect. He was exacting and demanded much of himself. He was a mentor to many, and he was a charismatic man whose company everyone enjoyed. He was a man with a vision, a team player, a colleague, a trusted companion, and a caring, loving, and empathetic human being. Dr. Smith leaves behind a strong and beautiful family: Florence, his wife of 58 years; eldest son Stephen, his spouse Marina, and children Peyton, 10, Gavin, 8, and Kellen 5; daughter Christine and her spouse Chad; youngest son Michael and his partner Athena. Memorial services will take place on Saturday, March 19. Please email [email protected] for more information. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Athenaeum www.ljathenaeum.org or the non-profit San Diego Neurosciences Society at sdneuro.org.
Beloved husband, father, neurosurgeon, friend, neighbor, and colleague, Randall “Randy” William Smith, M.D., died on Oct. 25, 2021. Randy was born on Oct. 29, 1938, in Minneapolis, Minn. He grew up in Seattle, Wash., with his parents... View Obituary & Service Information
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