- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Kenneth Smith, deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Times, died in his sleep yesterday morning at his home in Alexandria, Va. He was 44.
He had been ill for six months. The illness was only recently diagnosed as cancer of the liver.
Mr. Smith joined The Washington Times in 1989 as an editorial writer, coming to Washington from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Before that, he had worked on the Danville Register & Bee and the Lexington News-Gazette in Virginia.
He was a member of St. Andrew and St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Catholic Church in Alexandria.
He was born in Philadelphia, the son of Brenton and Helen Blair Smith, and grew up in Oxford, Ohio. He was a graduate of Washington & Lee University as an English major, and his work resonated with the writers of the literary tradition he admired. He was fond of quoting long passages from Shakespeare and talked of Evelyn Waugh, Walker Percy and his other favorites with endless enthusiasm.
Mr. Smith, who pioneered the environment as an editorial-page beat, was the sternest critic of his own work and produced editorials and a once-a-week column that broke new ground in the debate. "His quiet grace and unusual insights gave the page a robust eloquence," said Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Times. "He was a lovely man, a newspaperman's newspaperman. His devout Christian faith, which was his consolation and reassurance until the moment he died, is a consolation now to his friends."
Though his illness sapped his strength in the final weeks of his life, he continued to work from his home. A meticulous reporter, Mr. Smith adopted the perspective of the ordinary citizen, facing the odds arranged to favor bureaucrats and regulators. Whether the topic was the Endangered Species Act, the Army Corps of Engineers or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, he reveled in exposing government arrogance, abuse and folly. He often quoted, with a chuckle, Ronald Reagan's ironic description of Washington bureaucrats introducing themselves: "We're from the government. We're here to help." In the last editorial he wrote he tied together the phenomenon of the flying manhole covers in Georgetown and his skepticism of the effects of the Kyoto treaty on the American economy.
His work won the Mark Twain Award, given for editorial writing by the Associated Press, earlier this year.
"No one could have asked for a better deputy than Ken," said Helle Bering, the editor of the editorial pages. "He was incredibly loyal, hardworking and dedicated. He was always there when you needed him; with Ken duty came first. He was all that in addition to being a very talented writer and stylist. And he would absolutely have protested against me praising him like this."
Mr. Smith is survived by two brothers, Brenton Smith of Atlanta and Philip Smith of Darien, Conn. Services will be at 2 Saturday afternoon at St. Andrew and St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Catholic Church in Alexandria.

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