Ralph A. Smith

Ralph A. Smith

CHAMPAIGN — Ralph A. Smith, 89, of Champaign died peacefully at 1 a.m. Sunday (June 9, 2019) at ARCH and Helia Healthcare of Champaign.

Cremation rites have been entrusted to Mittendorf-Calvert Funeral Home, and a private burial will be held.

The deceased was born June 12, 1929, in Ellwood City, Pa., the third son of Joseph and Birdie Smith.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and a sister.

Surviving are his wife, Christiana, and a cousin, Charlotte Boyer.  

Ralph graduated from Beaver Falls High School and later from Columbia College in New York with a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts. Upon being drafted into military service and after having completed basic training, he was assigned to Germany; it was there that he met and married Christiana Maria Kolbe in Bad Tolz, Bavaria.

When he had finished his military duties, Ralph returned with his wife to the U.S., where he studied for and received a doctoral degree in fine arts from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Ralph's professional career started in state universities in Ohio, Wisconsin and New York. In 1964, he joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, from which he retired in 1996 as professor emeritus of educational policy studies. He guided doctoral students and taught graduate courses devoted to aesthetics and art education.

A major portion of his professional time was spent working on the quarterly Journal of Aesthetic Education, published by the University of Illinois Press, of which he was the founder and editor for 34 years. His writings were widely recognized in this country and abroad and produced an array of awards. The dominant purpose of his teaching was to cultivate in students an appreciation for the excellence of works of art.

In honor of Ralph's lifelong love of animals, memorial contributions may be made in his honor to Hospice Hearts, P.O. Box 91, Thomasboro, IL 61878, or online at hospicehearts.org.

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