Remembering Dick Smith (Richard H. Smith, Jr.) (1944-2016)

This page is dedicated to Dick Smith and his amazing contributions to our understanding of Mid-Atlantic Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). The following is a very slightly adjusted summary from his son Warren.

Dick was born on September 7, 1944 near Baltimore, MD, weighing in at a robust 10 lbs according to the farm’s chicken scale. He received his Bachelor of Science in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1971 from The Johns Hopkins University. He lived most of his life in Columbia, MD where he worked as an electrical engineer for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for over 40 years. He retired in 2015. Throughout his life, he balanced his interest in physics with a love of nature. Dick championed environmental stewardship and was incredibly active in the Maryland Entomological Society (MES) and the Lepidopterists' Society throughout the Delmarva area. He was the Secretary of MES since about 1990.

Dick Smith at Soldiers Delight by Richard Orr

Dick was a known authority on butterflies of this region. He ran outdoor learning expeditions and openly shared his logs and observations with others who studied these beautiful, elegant creatures. He was coordinator of butterfly species records for Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Biological Information Infrastructure Program and the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center’s website, "Butterflies and Moths of North America." He compiled a comprehensive listing of the resident, annually migrating, and vagrant butterflies of the Washington, DC area, which he described as "an accurate and realistic representation of what most butterfly enthusiasts, with some luck and perseverance over a period of several years, could actually find in the DC area."

"Dick Smith at Work" by Richard Orr

Dick was very actively involved with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in conducting surveys of specific habitats in search of rare and declining butterfly species, which would have him in the field throughout the spring and summer months. It was his diligence and thoroughness that helped establish accurate record information for numerous scarce and threatened species. His work with the DNR extended into a significant conservation project, the Maryland Natural Heritage Program list of rare, threatened, and endangered species in which he was a known contributing authority. If anyone had his "finger on the pulse" of butterfly populations, it was Dick.

Dick Smith and Phil Kean in the Catoctin Mountains by Richard Orr



In Memoriam at Howard County Bird Club

Memorial in the Phaëton, Volume 36, Number 11 (August 2016)

Memorial at UnbouncePages.com