Published in Virginia Gazette on May 24, 2017
LeRoy Walter Smith 1926 - 2017
Williamsburg - LeRoy Walter Smith, age 90, after decades of
teaching students, playing duplicate bridge, and nurturing his
family, passed away peacefully at Hospice House on May 2.
Born on December 5, 1926 in Mount Rainier, Maryland just
across the Washington, D.C. line, he met Phyllis Marilyn Foster,
the love of his life, at McKinley Tech High School (1944).
They were married while attending American University where
LeRoy earned his Bachelor's degree and played on the American
University basketball team that won the Mason-Dixon conference championship. LeRoy earned
his Master's degree at George Washington University and his PhD at Duke University. After
teaching three years at Gettysburg College, he joined William & Mary as an assistant professor
of English in 1956. He served at William & Mary for 32 years, including four years as Chairman
of the English Department. He published many scholarly works, including his book Jane Austen
and the Drama of Woman. In the 1970's LeRoy served for six years on the City of Williamsburg
School Board, five as its Chairman.
LeRoy took life at a gallop. He was a prolific and passionate duplicate bridge champion who
played the game up to the end. Like his wife Phyllis he attained Life Master status in the
American Contract Bridge League. LeRoy was a voracious reader and an avid sports fan. He
loved art and music, attending every exhibit, concert and performance he could. In retirement he
enjoyed playing golf and traveled the world. He was a liberal thinker and always had the most
thoughtful views on important issues.
Above all he treasured his family. He shared his home with his charming mother Mary for the
last 30 years of her life. He spent hours every day with his precious Phyllis during her declining
health, devoted himself to the caring assistance of his daughter Martha, and doted on his
grandchildren. No one could have done more for others.
LeRoy was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Mary Elizabeth Forbes Smith, his
brother Thomas Forbes Smith, and his wife Phyllis Foster Smith.
He is survived by a son, Dana N. Smith and his wife Audrey of Williamsburg; a daughter,
Martha S. Newman of Williamsburg; and five grandchildren, Trent, Lucy, and Ramsay Smith
and David and Kyle Newman. As a husband and father, LeRoy selflessly devoted his spirit and
energy to enriching the lives of his wife, children, and grandchildren. There are no bounds to
how much we will miss him.
A graveside service will be held at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Williamsburg on Wednesday,
May 31 at 3:00pm with a reception to follow at the Great Hall of William & Mary's Wren Building.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg.
To share condolences with the family, please visit www.vacremationsociety.com