A Celebration of the Life of Paul Edward Smee

Opening music: Mozart's Horn Concerto No.1 played by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra


Good afternoon. May I welcome you all to this farewell ceremony for Paul Edward Smee. This is our time to remember Paul with love and affection and to take leave of him. While this is a very sad occasion, it is also an opportunity to remember Paul as he was in life, and to celebrate it in gratitude and appreciation of having shared it with him.

Afterwards, you are all invited to 48, Raglan Road for refreshments. Also, if anyone would like to make a donation to Friends of The Earth and Action Aid, two charities Paul regularly supported himself, there will be an opportunity to do so at the house. Please do come.


Paul was born on 29th December 1945 in Little Rock, Arkansas and named after his two grandfathers, Paul and Edward. The family moved several times but in 1957 they settled in Upper St. Clair, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Paul graduated from Upper St. Clair High School in 1963 and was the first from that school to attend The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a prestigious technological university known as MIT.

Over the next 3 years Paul dropped in and out of university for various reasons, one of which being time spent in the Army. His eyesight was not good enough for active service in Vietnam so he worked in the Office of the Scientific Advisor in Saigon during 1966 and 67. While in the Army he married Laurie Lord and their son David was born. Paul was discharged on 11th March 1969 and on his return from Vietnam he became active in the anti war movement.

During the next 5 years he resumed a full time academic career while at the same time successfully holding down a full time job. Kristen was born and Paul needed to support his family, but this double full time schedule took its toll. His marriage ended in divorce, Paul obtained full time employment and never completed his degree. He wrote these words in summary of his incomplete education.

By the time I got back to Cambridge (1977) the sense of “incompleteness” had worn off. I’d been working in the field for 8 years. I had for the last 4 years been succeeding in jobs which “required” the degree, without having it. I occasionally discussed with my advisor various ideas for a thesis topic – and it became clear that anything I would find interesting would not be approved, on grounds that it would be too complex for undergraduate level; and that anything that would be approved would be, frankly, silly. Since my main objective was not to get a degree, but to get an education, I wasn’t able to see the point in that. There would have been some educational value to finishing the science distribution requirement, but since (by definition) that would have meant taking a course which had nothing to do with EE or Computer Science I don’t actually think it represents a significant omission.

And then, of course, I came over here . . . . . ”

Paul had met Ann at a Honeywell conference in New Orleans in 1979. Ann had attended the conference with Kit Powell and Alan Williams for the University of Bristol to gain some expertise in the workings of the new American computer system. Paul and Ann were besotted with each other and Paul came to live here in England.

A large part of their life together revolved around cycling. They loved the annual cycling trip to The States with friends and they cycled from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, the entire length of The Rockies. They also belonged to the local Cyclist Touring Club. In 1993 and again in 1996 they cycled from Lands End to John o’ Groats.

Paul and Ann liked to be out and about together. They made several trips to Greece. They learnt to speak the language and enjoyed Greek evenings with friends. In the early 1980s Paul introduced Ann to skiing which he had learnt in The States. They enjoyed concerts; especially the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and they went to many of the classical series at the Colston Hall with a group of friends.

Paul’s two younger brothers, Jim and Bob, and his mother live in Pittsburgh. Jim has written the death notice for the Pittsburgh local paper and I quote

Paul was basically brilliant, and an unpretentious free spirit with simple needs and a quiet, dry sense of humour.”

Bob and his wife Eileen are here today and Bob will speak to us later.

<<Contributions from Kit Powell, Gillian Baxter and Bob Smee>>

Time for reflection

Background: Streamside Songbirds from Echoes of Nature

The Farewell and Committal

Paul, we say goodbye to you with these words.

We feel privileged that you lived.

We took delight in your friendship and love.

We are glad that we walked life with you.

We remember with gratitude your words, your achievements, your character, your qualities.

With respect we bid you farewell.

With love we leave you in peace.

Close of service

Closing Music: Keep on the Sunny Side by The Whites, from O Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack


Service conducted by Maggie Barton Funeral Ceremonies
13, Marion Walk, St George, Bristol BS5 8LJ
Tel: 07836 267107

Funeral Director: Cooperative Funeralcare
20, High Street, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS9 3DU