|The MTSU community was shocked by the unexpected death of former history department Chairman Thad M. Smith.
“He had had some health problems in the past but he had come through and that’s what made this a shock to us all,” Public History Program Director Bren Martin said.
Martin added Smith, 56, complained of chest congestion Monday, but otherwise seemed to be in good health. He taken to the emergency room Tuesday where he collapsed and doctors were unable to revive him.
Smith was described as a joyful and inspiring teacher who loved his work.
“To me he wasn’t just a mentor and colleague, he was a friend. I’m going to miss him so much,” Martin said.
Smith joined the MTSU faculty in 1988 and served as chairman of the history department from 1996-2007. He also served as director of African-American Studies from 1992-1996.
Smith was currently teaching a summer class of “Historian’s Craft.” History Department Chairwoman Amy Sayward will complete the course in his place.
Smith received his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1987.
No funeral arrangements have been made at this time.
Former MTSU Chemistry Professor Gale Clark also passed away Sunday.
Clark, 67, taught at MTSU from 1969-2006 and had been a vital contributor to the development of a new science building at the university.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church, with Tommy Perkins, Jon Bell and Dr. David Miller officiating. Burial will follow in Evergreen Cemetery. Visitation with the family 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, at Woodfin Memorial Chapel.
Memorials in honor of Dr. Clark may be made to the music fund or the building fund at First United Methodist Church, Murfreesboro, TN, Hendrix College in Conway, AR or the MTSU Foundation, Gale Clark Fund, P. O. Box 109, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.
Clark is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Alee Burrow Clark of Murfreesboro; several nieces and nephews.
Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or email@example.com.