Deceased June 5, 2015

View alumni profile (log in required)
Read obituary
50th Reunion Book Entry

In Memory

Fred Smith died June 5, 2015. I remember a delightful transaction Fred and I were involved in during our senior year. Fred owned a vintage Ford sedan—condition largely known. He offered it to me for an extremely modest price. I couldn’t refuse, and the deal was settled. The car got me through senior year (barely), but I had no regrets because the price was so, so reasonable.

Fred was born in Portland, Maine. He attended Governor Summer Academy in Bayfield, Mass., and was named the most outstanding graduate. He received a scholarship to Amherst and graduated with a degree in history. He married Jerrie Marcus (daughter of Neiman Marcus president Stanley Marcus) in Dallas.

After completing his service in the Air Force, Fred worked briefly at his father-in-law’s luxury store before launching a career in real estate development in 1959 with the Great Southwest Co. He built one of the first townhouse projects in Dallas. 

He worked closely with civil rights leader A. Maceo Smith to develop the first professional building in Southern Dallas that had an elevator and full air conditioning. Fred’s wife said of the building, which housed black lawyers and physicians: “Nobody else had done that before.” She added, “And, being a New Englander, he felt very strongly about integration. He got a lot of pleasure out of that.”

Fred had a great love for ocean sailing, and he also loved animals. His greater love was for his big family. He split his time between Dallas and Rockport, Maine, where he planted more than 10,000 seedlings.

James C. Blackburn ’56

50th Reunion

After traveling in the United States and visiting class mate Van Ooms at Oxford, I married the love of my life, Jerrie Marcus (Smith 57). As young newlyweds, we moved to the Philippines and Taiwan where I pursued my passion for flight with the US Air Force. I advanced to the rank of Captain, flying surveillance missions over China and top secret buying sprees to Hong Kong.

After a three-year career and an honorable discharge, I embarked on a long journey beginning in real estate development and expanding into farming & ranching and oil and gas. Living in Dallas I found many opportunities for an entrepreneurial approach to business. Early in my career I learned that two things were very important to me: first, my family and second, being able to control my own destiny. That translated into working for me and not a corporation. While the latter proved often to be a challenging decision, I still regard it as the right one.

Jerrie and I have five children, eleven grand children and our household has always included a multitude of hamsters, horses, cats and dogs. We live in Dallas seven months of the year and in Rockport, Maine five months of the year. Nonesuch Farm, our home in Maine is really or family home and the summer months are filled with our children, grandchildren and dogs, and occasionally old friends like Bob Eckhart or Hoc Noble- when there is a bedroom available.

Over the years I have remained involved with Amherst for several years as president of the Dallas association as well as being called upon to interview potential students. Through this, I have met some impressive young men and women from the Dallas area.

We travel quite a bit, with children and grandchildren living in London, Moscow and Hong Kong. We visit each once a year certainly earning some frequent flyer miles along the way. We try to spend a few weeks every year in the warmth of Mexico or Central America exploring new territory or sailing in the Caribbean.

Two years ago my company, Smith Allen Oil & Gas, merged with another creating Dorchester Minerals, a publicly traded oil and gas company. This has given Jerrie and me the chance to enjoy the fruits of years of labor. I remain actively involved in private investments in the areas of oil and gas.

Frederick Smith