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Students remember life of “Johnny” Smith through dance and pictures

Senior Reporter

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 01:02


Sophie Nelson | The Houstonian

Students and Faculty gathered in the Erica Starr theatre to celebrate Johnny Charles life.

Students, faculty, friends and family all gathered in the Erica Starr Theatre Wednesday in order to remember the life and career of Sam Houston State University Assistant Professor of Dance, Jonathan Charles Smith.

The memorial service consisted of a video and picture montage of Smith’s life and choreography work, speakers from Smith’s collection of friends, family, colleagues and students, and performances by students who danced pieces choreographed by Smith.

The entire room was filled with both laughter and tears as each part of the service recounted the life of Smith and everything he gave to the people he was surrounded by.

“The one word I think of when I remember Johnny is spirit,” Assistant Professor of Dance Dana Nicolay said. “And I know his spirit lives on. We see it every day in his students, his choreography and the lives of everyone who knows him. He left us with a huge spirit.”

A former student of Smith’s, Lyndsay Lunsmann recounted her favorite memories as the audience laughed at the familiar antics of the professor. She then said Smith was a second father and great friend to her and that she believed the greatest gift Smith ever gave to his students was the love of dance.

According to the programs handed out at the service, two scholarships have been established in honor of Smith. The Jonathan Charles Endowed Scholarship in Musical Theatre and the Jonathan Charles Endowed Scholarship in Dance.

Also Student Government Senator Steven Perry proposed a Bill that would declare Feb. 20 as a day of remembrance and memoriam for Smith. It passed unanimously at the SGA meeting on Feb. 19.

A reception took place after the service in the Performing Art Center and offered refreshments. Everyone who attended was encouraged to join in conversation with others and share their favorite stories of Smith.

Jordan O’Hara Smith, Smith’s daughter, thanked everyone who attended at the service.

“Thank you to everyone who came today, and thank you for remembering him this week,” Smith said. “He’s somewhere out here right now and I know he appreciates the love shown today. Thank you so much, and remember to point your toes.”

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