Religious studies professor, 74, dies

A memorial service will be held for Daniel Smith, a religious studies professor and member of the Richmond Action Dialogues, on March 2 at 6 p.m. at the Hindu Center in Henrico County. Photo courtesy of school of World Studies.

Cyrus Nuval
News Editor

A religious studies professor credited as an influential members of the Richmond Action Dialogues, a volunteer organization that values peaceful dialogue and inclusiveness, died earlier this month.

Daniel Smith, 74, died on Feb. 8 due to physical complications from a bicycle accident that happened on June 8, 2013.

Mark Wood, the director of the School of World Studies and a friend of Smith, said that the accident had left Smith a quadriplegic.

“Dan (Smith) has been in and out of hospitals since the accident,” Wood said.

Smith was moved from MCV to a medical facility in U.Va. during his months of hospitalization.

Jacqueline Pogue, a former professor at VCU and a member of the Richmond Action Dialogues, said Smith was an important member of the Richmond Action Dialogues and VCU.

“He was a remarkable professor, an accomplished actor, a successful entrepreneur leading various businesses, motivational speaker, world traveler, philosopher, monk and spiritual truth seeker,” said Pogue, who is the executor of Smith’s will.

Wood also added the Smith was known to the VCU community as a peacemaker who believed that people of different religions and spiritualities could co-exist.

“Dan, himself, practiced a religion of kindness, inclusiveness and service,” Wood said. “He focused on and nurtured the good in people. He broke bread with Catholics, weekly read the Bhagavad Gita with Hindus, danced with Sufis, fasted with Muslims, read the Torah in Hebrew with the Jews, meditated with Buddhists, read scriptures with Sikhs and took students to India to study the Jain religion.”

Smith is survived by three children, Daniel Smith-Llera, Erica Llera Mitchell and Demien Smith, seven grandchildren, a sister, Jeanne Shipley and a brother, Cyril Smith.

A memorial service for Smith will be held on March 2 at 6501 Springfield Drive, Glen Allen, Va.

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