1925 – 2007 (February 17)
Arthur Francis Smith was born on November 16, 1925, in Albany, New York, the son of Arthur Smith and Anne Hess. His grandfather was the Honorable Alfred Emanuel "Al" Smith, former governor of New York and Democratic presidential candidate in 1928. Art had one sister and three brothers, one of whom, Alfred, was a member of the Villanova Province. Arthur was baptized on December 26, 1925, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Albany, N.Y. He received his early education at Saint Mary Star of the Sea Parish School, Long Island, N.Y., and Holy Trinity Parish School. He attended De LaSalle Institute, for one year, and Iona Preparatory School, for three years. Arthur served in the Armed Services, from 1944 to 1946, after which he began studies at Villanova College. On September 9, 1949, he entered Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., and professed simple vows on September 10, 1950. He returned to Villanova College and completed his studies in 1951 with a BA in Philosophy. From 1951 to 1955, he studied theology at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, and also completed an MA in History at Villanova. He professed Solemn Vows on September 10, 1953 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 5, 1954, by Bishop John McNamara, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC.
After a summer assignment in 1955 at Our Mother of Consolation Parish, Chestnut Hill, Pa, he was assigned to Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, DC, where he taught US History, Religion and later was Vice-Rector in charge of studies. From 1963 to 1987 he was assigned to Austin Preparatory School, Reading MA, where he taught History and Religion, and served as Vice-Rector for Studies, Moderator of the National Honors Society, and Moderator of the Friends of Austin. In 1987, he was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, PA, and served first as Assistant Archivist and then, from 1988 to 1995, as Archivist of the Province. He later continued as Assistant Archivist, but with failing health, he retired from this work.
After a long illness, he passed over to the Lord on Saturday, February 17, 2007. Father Art was honored by Austin Preparatory School, Reading, when it named its library, Media Center, Reference and Research Center, after him, in recognition of his twenty-four years at the school. He had been a member of the school's founding faculty and its first Academic Dean. He was firmly dedicated to the Province's ministry in Secondary Education and spent 32 years in that ministry. On one of the anniversaries of his ordination, in an interview, he said: "Such reflections that I might have can be summed up in the words, gratitude and continued awe. Gratitude to Almighty God for the gift of the religious priesthood, and to the members of the Order who have assisted me…, and awe that God continues to favor me with his love."
A funeral Mass was celebrated on February 22, 2007, at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, Villanova, PA. Father Art is buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla, NY, with his family, including his brother, Alfred E. Smith, OSA, who predeceased him.