David B. Smith, a Vashon resident, passed away on Jan. 3, 2013. A dearly loved husband, brother, son, uncle and friend, he will be deeply missed.
David’s kindness, brilliance, humor and compassion left an indelible impact on all those who knew him. His contributions to the culture of Vashon, Seattle and a number of communities throughout Indonesia were remarkable and long-lasting.
David was born Oct. 20, 1952, in Dayton, Ohio. He grew up in Boxford, Mass., and spent memorable summers at a cottage in rural northern Michigan. At 18, fresh out of high school, he began a personal odyssey in search of the meaning of life, hitchhiking across the United States and as far as Guatemala, interviewing people along the way in his quest for firsthand philosophical wisdom. Thus began a lifelong passion for travel and exploration.
His career was wide-ranging and entrepreneurial: selling soft pretzels from a cart near Pike Place Market; brewing coffee in what may have been Seattle’s first coffee cart; and crafting stone walls. He also was an influential yoga teacher. For the past two decades, he created and directed a prominent Seattle business, David Smith & Company, which designs and imports Asian furniture, building materials and artifacts, supporting a large community of craftspeople in Indonesia. In all of this, David operated with grace and a unique capacity to manifest his vision. He was inclusive in his creative, business and personal life – seeing no separation between these roles – and welcomed ideas and participation from nearly everyone he encountered. He often said he worked within the David Smith Rules of Business, which included “work with people smarter than you,” “make money while you sleep” and “tight shoes constrict cash flow.”
A voracious reader and tireless seeker, David dedicated himself to rich intellectual and spiritual investigation. The breadth of his interests included contemporary literature, as well as thinkers such as Maturana, Feldenkrais, Gurdjieff and scores of writers who addressed human development, language, spiritual traditions and philosophy. To engage in conversation with David meant to be immersed in a rich tapestry of ideas and traditions, to be listened
to with deep focus and empathy, and to laugh.
His inclusive and welcoming nature extended to his home on Vashon. If David’s curiosity led to the poetry of Red Pine, for example, well, why not invite Red Pine to give a reading at the house? And why not extend the invitation to others who may be interested? This he did innumerable times, exploring music, theater, dance, Buddhism and poetry through shared experience. Though not a practicing Buddhist, David and his wife, Suzanne Anderson, regularly hosted retreats for the Vashon-based Puget Sound Zen Center.
He lived on Vashon for 15 years, and created, with Suzanne, an exquisite property that included a Javanese house, from Kudus, a 19th-century Chinese merchant warehouse, and a home of unique beauty.
David’s beloved mother, Mary Ellen Smith passed away on Dec. 28, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; his father, Robert W. Smith; sister Pam Avriett and her husband, Don; brothers Greg Smith and his wife April, his brothers Ron and Steve Smith, nephews Peter Avriett and Henry Smith, and his neice Claire Avriett.
A Celebration of Life ceremony will be coming in the months ahead. In the meantime, a Facebook page and webpage have been set up where people can post comments and photos. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Remembering-David-Smith/143738935781305?ref=ts&fref=ts and http://rememberingdavidsmith.com/
David will be remembered for his tremendous capacity for love, and for his ability to truly see and hold others as valued human beings. Those who knew and loved him will forever honor a life lived with passion, vision and the biggest heart imaginable. Safe passage, David, we love you so.