Wednesday, December 02, 2015

When a friend passes

I've learned today that my friend and mentor, David B Smith, has died. He spent his last days in a nursing home in Ayr.

I was just about to get into my car this morning, heading to see him again, when the news came through. I had packed some new curling books for him to read, some ephemera for him to look at, and had put together a list of curling history related questions which I hoped he might be able to answer for me.

You see, he was my mentor. His enthusiasm for the history of curling was what got me interested in this aspect of our sport back in the 1970s. Researching curling's history is one of the things that keeps me busy in my retirement. It's thanks to David that I have this interest. Another thing that keeps me involved these days is the Historical Curling Places project, helping Lindsay Scotland and Harold Forrester, with that. Of course, this was all started by David.

In the seven years I edited the Scottish Curler magazine, he was the most reliable contributor, ensuring that each issue had an article about curling history or collecting curling ephemera. He could not have been more supportive.

When the magazine folded, I started the Curling History Blog so he would continue to have an outlet for his writings. Recently he hasn't felt able to write much, but has encouraged me to write articles for the blog myself. Always by my side is his book, 'Curling: an illustrated history', published in 1981, still the best curling history resource.

He was a real character! When I told him I was planning a fun article about 'knitting patterns for curling sweaters', he went and found his own, and that's the reason for the photo above! We certainly had a laugh with this. The article is here.

My thoughts are with Hazel and his family.

(More memories of David are here)

Photo taken by Hazel Smith


  1. A great ambassador of the history of the roar'n condolences (Steve O'Keefe) and condolences on behalf of the Wausau Curling Club-Wausau Wisconsin.

  2. This is terribly sad. David (or the Sheriff!) was one of the great Scottish Curling characters as well as being a person of real importance in our sport. If you had to pick two historical reference points in curling's history, I venture that his book and the Reverend Kerr's early twentieth century history would be the two that you would pick. He is in fine company. Just a great fellow and, like Bob, I shall miss him.

  3. I had many chances to converse with David when we were fist getting our club going here in Arizona. I have one of his Latin quotes as an emblem here at our club (Coyotes CC). Fine gentlemen, knowledgeable, and quick to help. My condolences to his family and to the curling world.
    Sincerely, Darryl Horsman

  4. We will miss our dear friend so much and we are so saddened to hear this heartbreaking news. Sherriff was a true gentleman and his knowledge of the roaring game was amazing. Our sympathy to dear Hazel and family. Don McKenzie and Corrine Caithness - Edmonton, Alberta Canada

  5. We were deeply saddened to hear the very sad news of David's passing. He was a good friend and we will miss him greatly. He was a true gentlemen and his knowledge of the roaring game was amazing. Our sympathy goes out to dear Hazel and family. Don Mckenzie and Corrine Caithness Edmonton, Alberta Canada

  6. So sorry to hear of David Smith's passing, A legend and an example for us all across many oceans! -Alice in California