Rachel Black Smith, 93, a language teacher in Washington public high schools for 30 years, died of cancer April 8, 2006 at her
home in Chevy Chase, where she lived for 32 years.
Mrs. Smith taught at the old Central High School, Eastern High School and Coolidge High School from the 1940s until retiring in
She was born in Clarksville, Tex., and grew up in Washington, where she graduated from Central in 1929. Her father was
Eugene Black, a federal tax court judge and Democratic congressman from Texas from 1914 to 1928.
Mrs. Smith graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1933 and received a master's degree from Middlebury College in
Vermont in 1939. She also studied for two years at the University of Madrid and the Sorbonne in France before World War II, and
at the Universite Laval, Quebec, in 1963 and 1972.
A world traveler and cultural explorer, Mrs. Smith visited every continent except Antarctica. She was fluent in French and Spanish
throughout her life. She worked as a Foreign Service officer for the State Department in 1946, assisting displaced refugees in
Munich. While there, she learned to ski, a sport she kept up.
She also taught at Stratford College in Danville, Va., and Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee.
A bicyclist and hiker, Mrs. Smith celebrated the 2004 New Year's holiday skiing in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Until November
2004, she hiked with the George's hiking group and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. She biked with the Potomac Pedalers
She was a member of the Woman's Club of Chevy Chase since 1973 and a long-standing member of Alliance Francaise de
Washington and the Spanish-Portuguese study group. She maintained a long association with the Methodist Home of
Washington and visited residents there weekly.
Her husband of 23 years, Dr. A.V.P. Smith, died in 1977.
Survivors include a sister, Lydagene Muth of Harrisonburg, Va