Deceased April 7, 2017
Kell died at his home near Saranac in the Adirondacks on April 7, 2017. His father, James K. Smith ’15, was the college architect who, in the 1930s and 1940s, designed many of our Federalist Revival buildings, notably Valentine, Kirby and the Alumni Gym.
Kell was a graduate of Exeter in 1945 and served in the U.S. Army. We were roommates at James and Stearns for two years. He was a member of Chi Psi and the Glee Club, on the varsity soccer team and on the executive committee of Sphinx. He was Phi Beta Kappa in Greek and Latin.
In 1953 he earned an LL.B. from Harvard and settled in to a long career with foundations, first the Guggenheim, then the Rockefeller and, for 25 years, the Mellon, where he retired as a senior fellow in 1999. In New York City and, after retirement, at the old farm he purchased upstate, Kell continued his energetic and generous cultural, educational and charitable efforts, like “Hill and Hollow Music.”
He is survived by his wife, Angela; four children, Alison, Timothy, Jennifer and Christopher (as he pointed out, “all dactylics,” perhaps in tribute to John Moore, the classics professor he and I “sat under” for three years); and seven grandchildren. Kell was a man of a Jeffersonian breadth of talents and tastes, with grace, wit, wisdom and generosity, whose entry in our 50th reunion album ended, “Never take the word retirement literally.” He is missed by his family and his Amherst friends.
P. Kingsley Smith ’50