Roland Bretz Smith, a former resident of Hollister, passed away April 14, 2010 in Fillmore, CA. His final days were spent surrounded by his loving family.
Mr. Smith was born February 17, 1924, in Highland Park, MI, to Roy Everett and Gertrude Bretz Smith. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and French from San Jose State and then earned a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was fluent in English, French, and Spanish.
While attending San Jose State, Roland met Georgette Paris and later married on September 4, 1949. After a few side trips to Templeton and San Jose, CA, Roland and Georgette settled in Hollister in 1953. For over 30 years, Roland taught English, French and Spanish at San Benito High School. After his retirement, Roland continued to serve the community on the Board of Trustees for San Benito High School. In 1999 he moved to Ventura, CA and then to Fillmore to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren. Roland was a devoted grandfather, who delighted in his grandchildren’s antics and instilled the deepest sense of importance in a good education.
Roland was a true renaissance man with a vibrant passion for the arts. He loved attending plays and operas, and played several instruments. His most recent instrument of choice was the viola. All through his life, Roland was inseparable from literature and was a regular patron of local libraries and bookstores. Most recently, as his eyesight failed, he spent hours listening to news magazines and books on tapes provided by the Braille Institute and the Library of Congress. He often engaged in philosophical discussions with his son-in-law over Sunday dinners, and impishly played devil’s advocate to spur debate at the Orange Blossom Villa where he resided up until his death. Roland loved a good buffet table, and his lifelong weakness was his sweet tooth. He often told people that he only liked two kinds of pie; hot and cold.
Mr. Smith is survived by son, Jeremy Smith; his daughter, Renee Bush (husband Michael); his favorite granddaughter Robin Heung (husband William) and favorite grandson Ryder Bush. He is also survived by his sister Electa Fox (husband Jack), and nieces Lynn and Suzanne Fox and nephews Steven and Roger Fox.
He was preceded in death by his wife Georgette Paris Smith, his brother, Willis Smith, and his AFS daughter, Malayvone Phoummathep.
Friends are invited to a graveside service which will be held on Friday, April 23, 2010, 10:00 A.M. at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 1100 Hillcrest Road, Hollister, CA. A reception will follow (place to be announced).
Donations to the Baler Education Foundation, the Braille Institute or the Kidney Foundation would be appreciated c/o Grunnagle Ament Nelson Funeral Home 870 San Benito St., Hollister 95023
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