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Alan F. Smith, 93 of Woodland Park, CO, passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Day, 2023. Alan was born in London, England on the 9th of October 1930 to John Frederick Smith (AKA Fred) and Lily Johnson Smith. His family remained in London throughout World War II, taking to their backyard bomb shelter frequently whenever the air raid sirens went off. Despite the austerity of life during the war, they were never without a dog or pet of some kind. During the war, he and his older brother had a pet goose. One year around Christmas he came home to find the goose was gone, and his father said the bird had flown away. That Christmas they had a feast of roast goose, a rare treat during war time. Eventually the two boys realized the bird hadn’t flown very far!
He attended the Woodhouse School where he was considered an outstanding student in most subjects. Math was his strength; science was his nemesis. He was an avid scout, being active in Troop 186 North London Scouts (later the 2nd Friern Barnet Scouts) from 1937 to 1948. In 1949 he began his mandatory 18 months of service in the Royal Air Force (RAF). After discharge from the RAF, he graduated from the University of London with a B.Sc. in Economics. He then passed the Chartered Accountancy exam with flying colors and worked as an accountant in the UK for several years. He also was a great athlete, being a star batter at the Finchley Cricket Club, where he still held the scoring record for the club when we last visited there in 1974. He was also a superb soccer player, and a more than adequate tennis player. Alan was a member of the Queen’s Figure Skating Club in London, which under the legendary Gladys Hogg had produced such figure skating greats as ice dance champions Doreen Denny and Courtney Jones, pairs champions John and Jennifer Nicks, and men’s singles champions John Curry and Robin Cousins.
In 1960 Alan came to the United States on a student visa to attend graduate school. He earned an MBA from the University of California (Berkeley), and then earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration (Accounting and Finance his areas of emphasis) from the University of Colorado (Boulder) in 1965. His time in Boulder instilled in him a great love for the mountains.
He specialized in Managerial Accounting, and after getting his Green Card, he taught at Indiana University (Bloomington), University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), and at Drake University (Des Moines). While in Des Moines, the American Institute of CPAs granted him CPA reciprocity on the basis of his Chartered Accountancy credential. He was the author of numerous scholarly articles in Accounting.
Alan enjoyed figure skating, particularly ice dancing. During his time teaching at Indiana University, he would drive to Indianapolis to skate at the Winter Club of Indianapolis. It was there he met his future wife, Debbie Rohrmann. They were married March 16, 1974. He also loved skiing, hence their honeymoon in Winter Park, CO. While living in Des Moines, he and his wife became devotees of duplicate bridge.
In 1977, Alan and his family moved to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he was part of a team of technical experts from the United Nations to develop a professional accountancy program in the country. After 3+ years there, they moved to Lilongwe, Malawi, where his UN team repeated the process of establishing a professional accountancy program, a project that took 5+ years. Upon leaving the UN in 1985, they traveled home via Egypt where they took a Nile cruise, Greece, Turkey, and of course the UK which was when he saw his British relatives for the final time. He was also part of a short term UN project in Monrovia, Liberia in 1986.
Returning to the US to live in 1985, Alan’s love of the mountains prevailed and the family settled in Woodland Park, CO. Feeling he wasn’t ready to retire, in 1988 he accepted a position as a Practice Examiner with the American Institute of CPAs in New York City. This job entailed writing the Practice (accounting) questions for the CPA exam, and it also meant that the family had to relocate to New Jersey. In 1995, after his wife completed her Ph.D. at Rutgers, he finally decided to retire, and the family returned to Woodland Park, CO.
He became a naturalized US citizen in 1993 while living in New Jersey. That was where he had his first experience with American type elections. Little did the INS know what it was doing when it unleashed him on election officials! On his first encounter with the voting booth, he managed to master the closing and opening of the curtain, but never quite perfected the intricacies of candidate selection. At the second election he was challenged – an event which even befuddled the election officials on duty. It appears that heretofore unknown dyslexia had reared its ugly head and caused him to transpose the numbers of our address when he filled out the voter’s registration card. Despite this, he did succeed in voting on that occasion. Of course, he voted for the loser. As we walked to the polls the next time, I said, “I do hope you can manage to get through this without incident!” Alas, it was not to be! Because he had not corrected the error in his address, he had been preempted and his name removed from the voting rolls.
Upon our return to Woodland Park in 1995, Alan took a part time job as a Membership Host at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. He considered his boss to be a pleasant but rather useless individual until 3 replacements came and went in rapid succession. Then he realized she was a managerial genius and he wondered why it took him so long to realize it. Perhaps wishing for vindication from the voting embarrassments of New Jersey, he also served as a Teller County Election Judge for several election cycles. In addition, when needed, he served as a pro bono arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau in Colorado Springs. As he always said, most of the cases should never have reached arbitration, but you can be kept very busy when people know you work for nothing!
Alan was an avid reader, and particularly enjoyed reading British and American historical non-fiction. He was a self-taught scholar in 20th Century British war history and imperialism. For someone with a notoriously poor memory, he could recite, almost verbatim, historical details he had read. He was never without something to read, usually an accounting journal, history book, or corporate report.
Alan loved to travel, but he always felt that any trip should also be educational. Wherever we traveled he would scout for historical places to visit along the route. This took us to multiple homes of US Presidents, Native American historical sites, museums, castles, palaces, and excavation sites, and all the ancient Egyptian artifacts situated along the Nile River. Although he had been a US resident for 63 years, he never lost his British accent, despite scornful claims from his relatives that he sounded like an American.
Alan is survived by Deborah, his wife of nearly 50 years, daughter Courtney, sister-in-law Margaret Williams Smith, nephews Malcolm Smith and Trevor Allan Smith, great nephews Shaun, Ashley, and Steven Smith, great nieces Laurie-Ann and Lily Smith, numerous cousins, as well as two grandcats. He was predeceased by his father Fred (1971), his mother Lily (1978), his brother John Edward Smith (2008), numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins, and most recently his double first cousin, Jean Smith Brittain (2014). Also preceding him in death were his beloved best friends, Rex (sheepdog who loved to roll in cow poop when out for walks), Bobby (Cardigan Welsh Corgi), Brandy (Irish Setter), Nikko (Lhasa Apso), Jimmy (Chocolate Cocker Spaniel), and Gorbie (Miniature Dachshund).
He was a member of the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs), CIMA (Certified Institute of Management Accountants, UK), the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales), and the ISCPA (Iowa Society of CPAs).
No services are planned. Ashes will be interred in Woodland Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, if you wish to memorialize Alan, the family would greatly appreciate a donation to Teller County Regional Animal Shelter (https://www.tcrascolorado.org/donate.html) or other dog rescue of your choice.