Obituary: David Kingsbury "Skip" Smith, 1946-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: David Kingsbury "Skip" Smith, 1946-2021 

Middlebury man passionate about travel and adventure took the road less traveled by

click to enlarge Skip Smith - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Skip Smith

Skip, as he was known to his family and friends, died peacefully at his home in Middlebury, Vt., on November 23, 2021, after a long illness bravely borne.

Skip was born on June 23, 1946, in Boston, Mass., and grew up in Middlebury, Vt. He attended Northfield Mount Hermon School, returning to Vermont during the summers to do odd jobs, including a beloved post with the Middlebury Bread Loaf Campus grounds crew.

Skip attended Middlebury College and graduated in 1968 with a BA in U.S and African history, though he would often later confess to focusing more on skiing than academics while there. After graduating from Middlebury, he joined the Peace Corps and did a two-year stint in Sierra Leone. His Peace Corps experience led to a lifelong commitment to working in West Africa. He was a Fulbright scholar in Nigeria and taught executive development summer programs as a visiting professor of marketing at Lagos Business School in Nigeria for 20-plus years.

Skip obtained an MBA in 1972 from Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College and a PhD in marketing from the University of Minnesota in 1985. His academic career included appointments at the College of Scholastica, University of Wisconsin-Superior, College of St. Thomas, Michigan State University and Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO). At SEMO, he served as marketing chair and marketing professor for 17 years, retiring in 2009 to take up the position of dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship at American University Nigeria. He briefly served as the director of business development and marketing at Osprey Investments Nigeria Ltd. but returned to academia in the post of dean of the faculty of Management and Social Sciences at Baze University, Nigeria, a year later.

Skip was a prolific researcher and writer, including writing the book Marketing Toolkit for Nigeria. He published more than 24 peer-reviewed case studies involving field research in the U.S., Africa, Europe and South America. Many of these case studies focused on opportunities and challenges faced by senior executives in Africa. He served as coeditor of the Global Journal of Business Pedagogy and was affiliated with the Institute for Global Research after retiring. He had a keen interest in world affairs and a special love for education.

Skip was a passionate outdoorsman. He ran numerous marathons, completed the American Birkebiner Cross Country Ski Race and summited many mountains, including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Loma in Sierra Leone. He traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. He also loved tinkering with old cars and playing the guitar. He often could be heard singing along to his favorite bands, especially during road trips.

Skip married Katherine E. Smith in Bloomington, Minn., in 1978. They had two daughters, Sarah and Kristin. He was later divorced. He married Teresa Petschl in Pittsford, Vt., in 2008 and enjoyed the addition of two stepchildren, Inge and Kurt, to his family.

Skip retired and returned home to Vermont in 2015, where he enjoyed striking up new friendships and rekindling old ones, skiing, hiking, canoeing, cycling, and attending cultural events in Middlebury. He devoted many hours to his position as coeditor of the Global Journal of Business Pedagogy. He will be lovingly remembered for his passion for travel and adventure, spirited quizzes, and endless curiosity. Skip ended his memoirs with Robert Frost’s famous quote — one that feels particularly suited to summarizing his very full, rich life: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Skip is survived by his wife, Teresa Petschl-Smith; daughters, Sarah Smith and Kristin Smith; sisters Lorrie Byrom, Marcy Covey and Kim Spensley; stepchildren, Ingeborg Smythe and Kurt Petschl; and five step-grandchildren. Memorials can be made to the Addison County Home Health and Hospice.

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