Donations can be made to the Mark A. Smith Endowed Lectureship.
Checks for should be made payable to "Case Western Reserve University" and designated for the "Mark A. Smith Lectureship".
Mailing address for donations is: Mark A. Smith Lectureship, Case Western Reserve University, 2103 Cornell Road, Wolstein Research Building, Room 5120, (mailstop 7288), Cleveland, OH 44106.
Memorial Service for Mark A. Smith, February 14, 2011, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
We are deeply saddened by the unexpected death of Mark A. Smith, PhD, Professor of Pathology at Case Westerm Reserve University, on Sunday, December 19, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Gemma, his sons, his father, sisters, his lab family, as well as numerous friends and colleagues. Mark was a devoted husband and father, beloved colleague, dedicated mentor, and dear friend to so many.
In addition to being a Professor at CWRU, Mark served as the Director of Basic Science Research at the University Memory and Aging Center and Editor-in Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. He also sat on the Editorial Board of over 200 journals including Science Translational Medicine, The Journal of Neurochemistry and The American Journal of Pathology. Mark is recognized in the field of Alzheimer's disease research particularly for his work on oxidative stress, mitochondria dysfunction and cell cycle re-entry and, with a h-index of 73 and over 800 peer-review articles and reviews that have received over 21,000 citations. Additionally, he was named as one of the top Alzheimer’s disease researchers in the world, one of the top 100 most-cited scientists in Neuroscience & Behavior, and one of the top 25 scientists in free radical research. His many honors included the Jordi Folch-Pi Award from the American Society for Neurochemistry, the ASIP Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology and being elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, a Fellow of the American Aging Association and a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest scientific organization. Finally, Dr. Smith has been recognized for his contributions to teaching with, among others, the Outstanding Mentor Award, School of Graduate Studies and the 2009 J. Bruce Jackson, M.D., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, Case Western Reserve University.
His passing is a tragic loss and he will remain in our hearts and serve as an inspiration in our pursuit to advance the health of humankind. We extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Mark’s family and friends during this difficult time.
Please email comments and photos for posting to George Perry (email@example.com) and Beth Kumar (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Below are comments and photos from those whose lives he touched:
-- Eulogy for Mark Smith
Those working and playing with Mark had a special knowledge, the secret of his superhuman power to get things done. It was simple: generosity of spirit, intellect and effort, all hidden under a legendary sense of humor and love of life. Mark supported everyone around him, from senior professor to beginning high school student, by instilling a confidence that everyone could contribute to improving the world if they had the courage to follow their data and more importantly, their intuition. Certainly if a coal miner’s son could be a leading scientist, it was not pedigree but perspiration and heart that would propel one forward. This knowledge permeated and touched everyone, even those that knew him only as a reviewer or meeting attendee, for it is rare for scientists to support total strangers.
His first correspondence inquiring about a position at Case was filled with charisma that jumped off the page. His wit in answering ambiguous questions prepared us for what was to come. Mark was to develop a new area in Alzheimer disease research, but as I quickly learned when picking him up at the airport, it would have to be through golf clubs, skis, cricket and soccer equipment because these, rather than books, filled his luggage.
Mark, the newly arrived post doctoral fellow, struggled with experiments and expectations at a laboratory where one could only talk about work, papers, and grants. And although I was probably the last to get it, Mark’s gift was contagious, moving the most demanding to plead his case that he would live up to expectations. I remember well relocating him to a closet, trying to reduce his salary and many other extreme measures. Then suddenly it happened, Mark’s talents to give brought the key collaborations and insights to establish the field. Our research group was revolutionized; traditional focus was replaced by a wide ranging idea market. Mark changed all of us into a giving team that reached around the world. For colleagues who were low on funding or productivity: he was there to help. The cost for the aide was simple but essential, you had to believe in yourself and share your talents with others. That was Mark’s secret, the return was great. I am sometimes asked how I could work so closely with Mark that my own contribution seemed lost. Instead it was returned a hundred fold every day. Even with death I believe that is still true.
By fixing cars, houses, and people, Mark was all about giving back and making the world better. He knew the privilege of the academic life rested on the efforts of the working class and that strengthening scholarship was not just the business of science. He trusted everyone as subscribing to his secret until proven otherwise, but with data to the contrary he would become as fierce a competitor in science as he was on the sports field.
Our laboratory family has lost its soul, or as Sandi often says “the idea person.” And although Beth, Peggy and Sandi knew Mark’s legendary over commitment, they depended on him to get all aligned. Now it will be up to his laboratory family to build on his legacy. Their efforts in the quest for an understanding of Alzheimer disease must as Mark’s not be tied to preexisting ideas including our own.
Early on I had the great fortune of meeting Gemma and instantly feeling they were meant for each other. With time I saw a passionate relationship develop and then came the boys that were everything to Mark. John and Rita were always there when a house needed repair, and saying “Mark is a good lad,” a promise then but now the life we celebrate in each of us.
Delivered at the Church of the Holy Angels, Bainbridge Township, Ohio, 26 December 2010
-- Eulogy for Mark Smith
My first personal encounter with Mark was in 1996 at a conference on Aging and Neurodegeneration held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Even in that very first meeting, so many wonderful features of this man shown through within the first few minutes. That Puckish smile, that baritone, English accent, that playful jousting of ideas, the hearty chuckle, the self-confident demeanor, the constant flow of interesting information and immense energy. I had known Mark through his already prolific production of scientific papers accomplished with precision and impact and with great guidance from George Perry. Now in my walk of life as a scientist, I am privileged to be invited to attend many scientific meetings, and I meet a lot of new persons in this line of work. As we all experience in every walk of life, first impressions are important, and I can say that Mark made quite the impression on me, particularly after hearing him lecture at the conference. The way he presented was so impressive…his clarify of thought, organized logic, cutting edge techniques, and challenges to orthodoxy. Here was a scientist to follow- if you could keep up with him- which turned out to be quite the challenge.
Now, I tend to think of myself as hard worker. My family will testify that I am usually at work during normal down times…always with my laptop…even at soccer and baseball games with the kids. But with increasing encounters with Mark, I found I could not hold a candle to him. Where did he get this drive, this seemingly boundless energy? After this first meeting in Jamaica where he was offering ideas on how to improve the program, it was only a couple of years later that he became the co-organizer of the conference and did improve it greatly.
I do not think Mark knew how to say no…he was just wired to scope out a situation, see where it needed improvements, make suggestions, and then rather than continue to complain….he would volunteer to do it himself. So Dr. Perry has already enumerated all of Mark’s scientific activities and accomplishments…the many other conferences that he organized, the invitations to present at conferences, the incredible number of scientific papers, the citations that they generated and his impact on the field. His colleagues recognize Mark’s great contributions as co-editor of the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease; however, after reviewing his CV last year, prior to introducing him at a conference, I was just astounded to learn of his service as editor or editorial board member of so many other scientific journals—literally dozens of appointments. This is an incredible commitment on his part. Another example of his boundless energy resides in his commitment to the American Aging Association. I have been affiliated with this association for over 30 years in various offices including President. This is an association of about 300 members dedicated to research in the biology of aging…or what we call hard-core gerontologists. When our Executive Director, Art Balin, stepped down after many years of service to the association, Mark stepped right up and volunteered to take over. When I asked him why he would commit to yet another activity, he just smiled, and said, “Come on, Donald, you know we are going to have some fun, and we can make things even better” And with the help of his dedicated assistant, Peggy Harris, again Mark was successful and lived up to his commitment.
Some years after that first meeting in Jamaica, my wife, Kitty, who admired Mark as much as I, said “You know we have to fix up this guy.” He was single and was so much fun to be around. We had a girl friend in Baltimore who was an aspiring scientist and also needed a soul mate, so we set about trying to hook them up at the next conference in Jamaica. Well, I can report there was great attraction, but later our friend told us, “Look, he is a great guy, but I do not think I could possibly keep up with him… He is a cyclone ripping across the plains of life.” Now I don’t like the metaphor necessarily, but I got her drift and could understand it. And so much for that relationship, but fortunate for Mark, he had already met someone who could keep up with him and admire this energy, and tolerate all the dust that the cyclone could stir up. And he did meet his soul mate in Gemma…sure, this relationship was like cold water hitting a hot skillet…it sizzled and popped, and occasionally the hot sparks stung someone, but what an incredible relationship where both could continue to grow in their science, their service, and their social life, and become such a dynamic family and vibrant members of this community.
Out of that sizzle popped two wonderful creations in their sons…….I must admit that I never saw Mark with a great desire to be a father—too much time away from the science that he loved…But I can see how he doted on his sons and how they reflected his personality. Just this year when we were at a meeting in Bar Harbor Maine, I told him that I never saw him as a father…he said these were his greatest works and he just loved being a father. Back to Jamaica for a minute, at the same aforementioned conference there, and I recall it was the one where we were trying to fix him up, I had talked my two sons, who were teens at the time, into pulling a prank on Mark. I told them that when I introduced them to Mark, that they should at first just stare without a reaction but then, in the best Wayne’s World sarcastic rendition, fall to their knees and shout, “We’re not worthy.” Mark got the biggest kick out of this, and as he never forgot a prank, he returned the favor at a meeting in Bar Harbor thanks to help of his sons.
So we all learned to love Mark’s special qualities--- the boundless energy, razor wit, the sharp intellect, his bulldog tenacity, and true dedication to science. Another feature was Mark’s integrity as a scientist…many of us in the room have seen him rise in a conference to ask a penetrating question to a colleague or we have read his challenging editorials. As a prime example, we are thankful of Mark’s presence in this church today, but we also know of his sacrilege toward the holy church of amyloid or the Baptists for which they are affectionately named. Now I do not want to confuse anyone here…what I am referring to is Mark’s persistent questioning of the major hypothesis of the cause of Alzheimer’s disease which concerns the deposition in the brain of a the protein known as beta-amyloid or abbreviated BAP, hence the reference to Baptists…along with a few other colleagues, like George and, Jim Joseph, Mark was an early and ardent critic of this amyloid hypothesis. He risked losing his sources of funding; sadly he made some enemies in the research community along the way, but he stuck with his guns. Such was his integrity and backbone as a scientist that Mark would be the one who could stand up and declare that the Emperor had no clothes. I regret that I am too reserved and timid for this type of declaration, but I am glad that Mark had that courage and fortitude. And many in the room know that the field of Alzheimer’s research is recently turning toward a view of the pathogenesis of this disease that are more in Mark’s favor and perspective and have justified his protestations.
As the final part of my comments today, I need to link Mark to another colleague, Jim Joseph, whom I have already mentioned. As many of us here know, Jim was an internationally acclaimed neuroscientist and gerontologist who headed the Neuroscience lab at the Tufts University Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Jim was a close colleague, collaborator, and mentor for Mark…and another scientific provocateur, whose energy and personality perfectly meshed with Mark’s. Jim and Mark are linked in so many vital ways, including the introduction of Mark to Gemma, who was a graduate student in Jim’s lab. And now Jim and Mark are now linked in death. Jim died June 1 of this year. I had the sad duty of speaking at Jim’s service in June and now here I am at Mark’s—really hard to believe and accept.
My wife Kitty and our family are spending this Christmas holiday at our vacation home in Utah, which has been our tradition for the last 7 years. Hence, my funeral outfit is this ski sweater… and a coat borrowed from Mark. Utah is the perfect holiday for us to be with family and surrounded by such beauty and all the stereotyped joys of a White Christmas. It is our very special celebration of the birth of Christ to go to Christmas Eve Services in Park City, and then on Christmas day to go skiing as a way to celebrate the beauty and wonder of God’s creations and Christ’s birth for the redemption of our souls. Standing at 10,000 feet, surrounded by such incredible natural beauty, breathing deeply the fresh cold air, and pushing off downhill to sheer exhilaration comes as close to heaven as I can imagine. Likely we have all had dreams of flying…and the exhilaration of that feeling….this is what it feels like to me on such a powder- laced day.
Last Sunday, my wife, Kitty, and I were in Salt Lake City to do serious grocery shopping prior to the arrival of our family. We had first stopped in to a Sports Bar to catch the football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Baltimore Ravens. As former residents of Baltimore and current residents of Louisiana, we are huge fans of both teams. Just as we had walked out of the bar, Gemma called us to tell us the tragic news of Mark’s death. We were just floored and shocked of course. Gemma said that Mark fittingly was coming home from a party…which we know he loved to do….and he would want us to be happy and to keep partying. I was struck by that positive message from Gemma and by two circumstances of that day. First was the fact that we had just finished watching a football game…had gone out of our way to do so, but we truly love the game. Of course, Mark is no fan of American football, but we all know his love of the true game of football…soccer. So we all know now about Mark’s incredible work ethic, but many of you may not know that when the World Cup rolled around every four years…Mark would shut everything down…he truly loved that sport…and could pass on any good day for a Football Hooligan…I wrote this part before seeing Mark today in his best football duds…how beautifully fitting it is.
The second circumstance of that day was when we returned to our home in Utah and started putting away the groceries that we purchased, I was struck by the appearance of this on our kitchen counter…this is a trail map, not for any resort in Utah, but for Breckenridge, Colorado. I had found the map in the pocket of my ski jacket, which I had not used since the last time I went skiing. This was in January at a meeting there called the Winter Conference on Brain Research. That was the last time I spent with Jim Joseph. There are many stories I could tell you about Jim and his trials and tribulations with skiing…he loved it, but he had to fight fits of anxiety to do it….he had only learned to ski when he was in his late 50s so it did take a lot of courage. Anyway, I had spent a lot of time giving instructions to Jim over the few years, and he had truly progressed so that on this last trip to Breckenridge, he showed great confidence and was able to master nearly all the intermediate “blue” trials that I pushed him down. So when I retrieved this map from my coat pocket Friday a week ago, I simply spread it out on the counter, I reminisced several times, and could not find the courage to just throw it away. Somehow I had to cling to it. And there it was still open on the counter last Sunday. And here is the divine connection in my mind. Jim’s first skiing experience was with Mark at this same Conference held in Snowbird. Mark got Jim up on skis for the first time that year. Jim loved the experience and the conference so much that he urged me to come to the conference next year, which was to be held in Breckenridge in January, 2001, where he and I roomed with Mark. So I had known Mark for a few years now, but this glorious week we all three bonded even more tightly….We learned about our common loves---science, skepticism, sarcasm, and youthful silliness. We took great satisfaction in the commonality of our blue collar roots and the fact that we progressed in life so far, given the dedication and love of our parents and our hard work and education.
When I had gazed over this map Friday a week ago, I relived the last runs with Jim and absolute child-like delight in the experience. But I also glanced over a couple of first runs that I had made with Mark those many years ago. I can still see him all decked out in his beautiful Carhartt ski outfit. For those of you who don’t know…Carhartt is a form of working clothes. So there was Mark, devil make care, looking like a car mechanic on vacation, zooming down the trail…I do mean zooming….Mark never goes slow at anything….limbs occasionally flailing about…catching his balance and careening off bumps and accelerating forward…his exuberance, his passion for everything he did in full glory.
I love skiing…it makes me feel child like again…giddy in emotion, even occasionally whooping and hollering in juvenile delight. And here were three scientists laughing and giggling like children. Such behavior reinforces my view that scientists are the product of the evolutionary process of neoteny, that is, the maintenance of child-like characteristics--our strong curiosities, our passionate behavior, and our occasional silliness are evidence of this.
Again as was his custom, Mark went hard at skiing at that conference, but he also gave a brilliant lecture, and then found time to wrap up a grant application. Full bore scientist, but hearty party animal. We enjoyed our times at this conference several more times over the next years until Mark had his family, after which he could act silly around his children instead of his colleagues. I am folding the map away now. It will provide lasting memories of my two close colleagues and friends. I see them now in a different place, maybe in snow covered part of heaven, still zooming down the slopes giggling like children, occasionally arguing with one another, but still providing inspiration to all who have known them. I am proud to include myself as one of those, and I thank God for providing such special souls to enrich our lives here.
Donald K. Ingram
December 26, 2010
Mark was a friend of mine. He was also a colleague, coworker, and then boss. I miss him a lot, and think about him every day in the lab, with the hope that we can sustain the high energy level and creativity that he brought to our research group.
While many people live to put others down, or hold others back, Mark was always positive and supportive. He didn’t turn around when he hit a roadblock, rather he found a new path around the problem. Because he was not a quitter, he was a great leader and we had great confidence in him. I think he truly enjoyed his work, and that enthusiasm made us all enjoy our work.
I was deeply shocked when I heard Mark passed away. For long time, he kindly and friendly talked with me when I just started the amyloid beta research. His e-mails always greatly encouraged me. I sincerely appreciated everything he did for me. When I visited Cleveland, I was very happy because he came to my lecture. I respect his research on Alzheimer's disease, especially oxidative stress. I will never forget Mark's smile.
Its really shocking to hear that the respected Sir Prof. Mark Smith is no more between us. Sir has helped me a lot as a research scholar for my publication which was very much required for completion of my doctoral thesis. It's highly painful that God has taken such a generous and helpful person from us. He was a great person and for me a generous Professor who helped me in my tough struggling time of my PhD.
The experience I had with Mark in October 2008 was inimitable and unique. Without knowing him, I requested to visit with him at the Pathology Department at CWRU. His theories and extensive research on oxidative stress fascinated me in such a way that I decided to make a spur of the moment personal visit with Mark in Cleveland. Mark received me with a smile as if I was an old friend and interrupted his work to talk with me for a long time. Then, he invited me to have lunch and introduced me to his colleagues and wife. I felt like I was at home because of his simplicity and altruistic openness. He listened to my comments and unreservedly impelled me to go ahead and to join him on future studies. I have to recognize that this fantastic reception and the week I stayed in Cleveland – including a weekend in his home – changed my life in such a way that from those days until now I continue on with our studies; and ultimately, in view of the unexpected tragic event, I have assumed the audacity to search out his best research collaborators as an effort to stay near his work. Mark was such a person! His few, but extremely talented words and advice, showed me how truth and genuineness are supreme qualities in life.
From Brazil: Roberto Rodrigues – Mark’s friend and colleague forever.
I was deeply sorry to hear his sudden death. Friendship (partnership)
with him has begun since I was looking for a job position three years
ago. He invited me to talk at his laboratory and had a dinner together. He
encouraged me to go forward RNA oxidation study and he gifted several
mice brain tissues. This research is still going on, I hope to publish a
paper article (that he said he loved) in near future. I will never
forget his kindness and lesson.
In 2002, Mark Smith received the Hermann Esterbauer Award, together with Dr. Norbert Leitinger, in Salzburg (Austria) on July 2002. This important prize was presented to him by the 4-Hydroxynonenal (HNE) Club, a formalized group of interest of the International Society for Free Radicals International. In the picture is Mark with Dr. Leitinger (middle) and me (left), then acting President of the HNE Club.
I speak to many scientists in my job as a journalist. Mark stood out as very thoughtful and bold thinker, one who was never afraid to challenge the status quo no matter who it upset. He refused to accept the conventional wisdom simply because famous people said it must be true. He was very unusual and daring in this way. There was no one else quite like him.
I was deeply shocked when I heard he was passed by. I greatly appreciated him to support my staying at Cleveland, one of the best terms of my life. I was reassured with enjoying his home party and was encouraged by his cheer. I remembered his enthusiasm to build up new concepts of the pathophysiology for Alzheimer's disease. When we think about his outstanding contribution to Alzheimer's research, what we lost is too much to compensate. It is really hard to believe we shall never see him again.
It is still hard to believe that Mark has passed away. He was not only a brilliant, hardworking scientist, but also a generous, warm-hearted friend to all of us.
This picture was taken in Japan, just after the 5th AD/PD meeting in 2001. We discussed many controversial points of the amyloid cascade hypothesis, which inspired me a lot.
In all the pictures I took, he had a warm smile on his face. Mark, I will miss you deeply.
-- I had the privilege of knowing Mark since 1994 when we both worked in Neuropathology at Case. Mark was the most joyful and full of life person I ever met, and I clearly remember that whenever we met during the day, his shine was so contagious that he could make you laugh even in the darkest of days. As an original Brit, Mark was an excellent football player, and I had the opportunity to play with him during difficult matches of Europeans versus the South Americans. Obvious to say, even in these dangerous events, he was clearly the engine of the team: courageous, selfless, imaginative. After the match, a couple of pints were the deserved prize. Everybody knows his caustic humor, with which he could tease the entire world. As in sport, Mark used in science the same energy, organization, fantasy and humor that made him an outstanding scientist worldwide. From this point of view, Mark represents an important example for all of us for his endless and rigorous endeavor in searching for the real cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Mark left to us an important legacy that we all should remember and imitate.
The last email I've received from him last November was made of only one word: "fantastic", as fantastic was his life. Too short.
I would like to extend to Mark’s family my deepest condolences.
This is not the way I was hoping to write for my dear friend Mark, but still I would like to write these lines with enthusiasm, the way Mark taught me to. I had the honour to meet and work with Mark in the spring of 2006 when I moved to his laboratory in Cleveland. I should say that I did not know what to expect from that adventure. First my boss in Mexico told me that I would be working with George but at that time he was taking a position in Texas, so, I ended up working with Mark, which I have to admit, turned out to be the best experience of my life in many ways but especially in the scientific sense. He basically pushed me into the science world, not just because of the publications but because he taught me how to put new ideas out. I think more than one person will agree with me when I say that Mark was a fearless speaker and the hardest working person that I have ever met in my life. Once, we were working on late Friday and he came out of his office and said….. “Mexican, Chinese, Korean and English, that’s what makes the difference, diversity pulling together”. Then he said his most traditional words “data.....paper?, no?, well then see you on Monday, do not forget, PhD time is precious and happens just once”……..
He was not just a brilliant scientist but also a humble person, another time I had a situation in one of his houses, the pipes froze. I have to say in my defence that was my first winter in cold weather, anyway, the water was leaking for the whole weekend through the walls and basically everywhere. When I arrived on Sunday after going out for the weekend the house was basically in ruins, the walls were swollen, the roof was falling in, the basement was full of water, in sum, it was a big disaster. I arrived and thought, Mark is going to kill me and conversely, he was really relaxed about it. He gave me some boots and some tools and we start working to fix the situation. That was Mark, always acting to solve the problems, no matter how big they were.
Gemma un fuerte abrazo para ti y tus hijos y sobre todo mucha fuerza para enfrentar esta situación.
I will deeply miss Mark, one of my scientific mentors.
I can only attest to Professor Smith’s inspirational opinions. As a young researcher finding myself in the awkward position of doubting much of the current scientific dogma surrounding me daily at work, his voice encouraged me to keep pursuing my thoughts and direction, and to challenge current conceptions. It is truly a testament to him that a man I never met or even spoke to -- something I one day hoped to change -- could have such a profound, positive impact.
I am so sad to hear the terrible news that Mark is no longer with us. I knew him for so long. I first met Mark in 1994 and he never changed from that time. He always remained the same enthusiastic scientist and a great human being.
He was a smart, dynamic, open-minded person who was always ready to go ahead. He has accomplished so much in the field of Alzheimer research. In addition to the field of oxidative stress, he was a leading expert in many other domains of neuroscience, Alzheimer disease, and various fields of neuropathology and pathology. He has given so much to the scientific community by encouraging everyone in his roles as editor and a scientist of new lines of research. He gave everybody the same level of respect and tried to help those coming from less favorable conditions, e.g. from developing countries.
The results of his excellence and dynamism, in joint effort with his long-time collaborator George Perry, is reflected by their success in Alzheimer research and by the success of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (JAD). Indeed they are among the best 100 Alzheimer researchers and they were able to bring JAD to the level of one of the most popular journals of Alzheimer research with an incredible increase, in only a few years, of its impact factor.
We have lost a friend and a leading member of the Alzheimer research.
His family, friends, colleagues, and all the Alzheimer community will miss him, his work, and his smile every day.
He was an example of how we should always help each other as much as we can. Our goal is the same, to promote research and knowledge in order to help the patients.
I am saddened and shocked by the sudden loss of Mark Smith. I met him in 1997 when he attended the first Free Radical Advanced Study Course in Antalya, Turkey which I was organizing. He was a young student participant and delivered a short oral presentation during the course, but it was so clear from his presentation that he would be an exceptionally bright outstanding scientist in the future. After this first meeting, we were always in touch. At one point, I even served as an external International member of the CWRU committee formed to review his promotion and award of tenure. Our contact continued on several occasions. We prepared joint projects and he hosted a member from my department in his lab (and even at his house) for three months. He was in Antalya last year during the last FEBS Advance Course I organized in April 15-20, 2009 at Kemer Resort Hotel, Antalya, Turkey. He delivered two presentations which everybody enjoyed. During the course, he organized small group tutorials with the students in a very friendly relaxed manner, but at the same time at a very high scientific level. All the students admired him for his warm personality and his scientific knowledge.
I learned about this terrible event from a letter sent by the IFCC office secretary asking for a replacement for a speaker for the next IFCC-EFCC World and European Congress in Berlin. I had proposed Mark, and he accepted to be a speaker at this meeting. I was shocked to see that the person to be replaced was Mark. I am still shocked. He was so full of life, full of enthusiasm, full of energy and this is not fitting to him at all. He was a very good, reliable person with a great sense of humor one can ever meet. This is a big loss for his beloved family, wife and sons, the scientific world, and his co-workers and friends. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife, children, his entire family and all the people who are saddened by this tragic loss.
You will be taken from this world unexpectedly and very early, but you will remain in our minds and hearts. We will never forget you. I hope and wish your pupils will take the flag and lead it to the target you indicated.
I met Mark in December 2004, when I went to pick up some brains from him. I had exchanged emails before that, while working with Massimo Tabaton and collaborating with Mark, and we had talked on the phone before. But meeting him was just something else. He drove me around in his amazing MG…oh the sound that car made and how proudly he would speak of it! I remember his office was full of toys. His trunk had a soccer ball and more... As we kept in touch during the years, I always felt like he was somebody I could really trust. Just recently, we chatted on a mouse model…talking science with him was a lot of fun! Me, Massimo Tabaton and Mark wrote a few papers together, I will be forever thankful for that. Mark is one of the people who made it possible for me to stay in this country and pursue my career as a scientist and Neurologist. Thank you Mark, I will miss you. My thoughts go to Mark’s family, to whom I express my deepest condolences.
-- I met Mark on a number of occasions and was always impressed by his
integrity, candour and enthusiasm. As well as being a huge loss to his family, friends and colleagues, his
premature departure deprives the field of Alzheimer's disease of one of its
One morning last December, I received an automatic message from the JAD Editorial Office reminding me that my review of a paper that was considered for publication was due in one week. The message was signed Mark Smith. At that time, the unbelievable tragedy had already happened to Mark, but I did not know. I found out later that day from the Alzforum website. I met Mark in 2002, soon after I had started my laboratory at Case Western Reserve University, at the unforgettable Data-on-the-table meetings, which combined a laboratory Progress Report with a Journal Club, and - of course - plenty of good food and beer. Because of his busy schedule, Mark did not attend all the Data-on-the-table meetings, but when he did, he always brought with him a manuscript that he had to review for some journal. I remember how surprised I was at one of the meetings to see that Mark was reading the manuscript during the presentation, apparently not paying much attention to the presenter. I was even more surprised when I heard Mark asking the presenter pertinent questions that proved he had actually followed the presentation in each and every detail. Yes, Mark enjoyed multitasking, and he excelled at it. His energy, knowledge of literature, scientific curiosity, and focus allowed him to do that.
After I left Case for UMDNJ, I only met Mark once: at the ICAD in Honolulu, last July. He was unchanged: full of energy and confidence, and very busy talking to people. He was immersed in the Meeting. He probably also brought with him a few manuscripts to review. I am sure he was like that till the last minute: enthusiastic about his work, and the work of others. We all will miss him.
Mark’s passing was a shock. It is like losing a General in the middle of an intellectual battle, where the tide of the battle is turning in favor of Mark’s cause. True, in my small corner of the world, I did not meet or work directly with Mark. I suppose, some might believe this does not qualify me to comment on his passing. However, I function under the penumbra of his opus and am daily grateful for his influence on the world of Alzheimer’s research.
My husband, Bo Su, and I used to work in Mark’s lab. Mark was such a smart and kind person with a great sense of humor. He always tried his best to help people. He gave me a lot of useful advice about my work and my life. He knew that foreigners would feel lonely especially over the holidays so he always invited foreign lab members to his house. I remember very well the fun having parties with Mark, Gemma and their young boys in their lovely house.
We have been back in China for almost one year, however, the days we spent with him are vivid, like yesterday. His smile, his voice, his figure is still so clear to us. We can’t believe he just left so suddenly. One week after the shocking news I had a dream in which it turned out to be a mistake clarified by the police that he just left town for a few days. How I wish it was true.
Mark was a brilliant scientist, an excellent supervisor and a great man. Thank you for what you have done for us. We’re so proud to have once been part of your lab and will cherish every moment that we had together for the rest of our lives.
Su Bo and Haihua Liu
I am very saddened to learn of the death of Professor Mark A. Smith. I had the privilege to meet him at three successive ICAD meetings. He had a unique and wonderful personality. The scientific community has lost a giant of medical research on Alzheimer's disease. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife, children, and his entire family.
Mark Smith: funny, brilliant and courageous. I am saddened that I will
not hear your laugh again, but most of all I am saddened by the loss
to your family. Since your passing your spirit has spread throughout
the world through memories in the minds of friends and colleagues on
most every continent. I pray that these memories never fade and that
your insight and sense of humor inspires each of us every day to do
what we love and love what we do. You were a unique personality in
the scientific community. You could make fun of anything and anyone,
including yourself. During one of your visits to Fairbanks you
ridiculed our local news reporter for being more interested in the
places you had visited than in the science you were here to talk
about. I laughed, knowing your anguish when I viewed a video clip of
a Cleveland news reporter describe your tragic death. The anchorman
could not say professor and looked sheepishly at the camera after he
finally spoke correctly. Thank you, Mark, for significant input into
our collaborative work and for helping me in my career. You made the
world a brighter place and you are greatly missed.
I first met Mark in the fall of 1999 when our institute Tokyo Institute of Psychiatry held an international conference on dementia research in Tokyo. We had some serious discussion and became friends. In April 2000 I attended a conference in Trinidad and Tobago: Mark was one of the organizers, which was one of the major reasons for me to go. In his talk, by chance, I had to take care of his slides; PowerPoint was not available yet. Fortunately indeed, during the meeting I got acquainted with many prominent scientists from all over the globe, including Rob Friedland. In 2002 just before the 4th of July, I visited Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland to meet George Perry, Gjumrakch Aliev, Rob, and Mark, who called his office penthouse… In July 2009 at ICAD in Vienna, I attended his talk in which he showed an exciting result about the treatment of AD with a mitochondrial activator. After the talk, I suggested him to do a similar trial to treat PD since the mitochondrial deficit is one of the keys in PD. The same year I met Mark again at the ISN meeting in Busan, Korea. He was smoking outside the building, and it was the last time I saw him in person. In these ten years, I always found Mark enthusiastic about his research and science. It is hard to believe that I cannot see his big smile again. We all miss Mark very much.
With deepest sympathy,
Some of my best memories of Mark were in Jamaica.
Jammin in Jamaica took on a whole new meaning after the fun loving Mark hit the shores. George my late husband a Jamaican never ceased to be amazed at Mark's stamina as he participated in the local culture. George always said Mark is living life in Jamaica. Somewhere on the walls of the Jamaica’N Me Crazy Nightclub at the Jamaica Renaissance hotel there must be a plaque to commemorate Mark’s presence. What a sheer delight it was when a scientist of Mark’s caliber and with a personality to match came on board to assist me as a organizer of the Neurodegenerative Common Molecular Mechanisms Meetings in Jamaica and in Trinidad and Tobago. Not only did he contribute to the science and the social aspects of the conference he also managed to keep me on the ground. As organizers we had to deal with some interesting situations behind scenes. Any situation that seemed to be a crisis to me, quickly became No Problem when Mark would stepped in. I always got a charge out of listening to the very articulate Mark negotiate with the hotel management. Mark had the knack to transform the unwilling to willing and have all parties leave with handshakes and big smiles. This was particularly true when Mark designed meal vouchers at one conference. Further to this he somehow managed to organize a press conference, which included the local TV station.
Mark’s untimely departure is indeed a tragedy, which is beyond heartbreaking and even comprehension. Personally while coping with this unspeakable tragedy tears flowed and then tears were hushed by memories of this Icon. Mark touched our lives in so many different ways. Another way to describe Mark would be to transform the Jamaican national motto ‘Out of Many One People’, by saying Out of Many one Mark Smith. His gregarious personality attracted people from all walks of life, his radiating smile cheered up the most gloomy soul, his voice has been a continuous source of wisdom and humor, a remarkable family man as witnessed by his total devotion to his wife, children and parents. My music will go on forever. Maybe it's a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen Quote from Bob Marley. How this reflects Mark. Just a conversation with Mark always turned out to be reassuring whether it was about research or just usual problems. Mark’s personality could have easily inspired the song : Don’t worry about a thing. On many occasions I continued my research because Mark took an interest and gave me guidance. Mark’s kindness towards me during a personal tragedy was very comforting.
Recently “knighted” as a renegade scientist was so fitting to Mark. When I first heard Mark challenge the popular amyloid hypothesis I thought well this could certainly change some things. I admired this extraordinary scientist’s courage and ability to continue to produce results to support that amyloid was protective. He kept us thinking outside the box and what could be more important to the advancement of research. I have often used Mark as an example to educate my own graduate students.
Though a crater has been created by his loss he will continue to live in our hearts as Mark Smith’s legacy spans the globe. I am so grateful that Mark Smith shared some of his life with me. Luckily I had some time with him at the ICAD meeting in Hawaii.
I wish to send my deepest sympathy to Gemma, his sons and family members.
When I heard of the circumstances of Mark's death, I pictured him happy, walking home in the middle of the night after an all-out celebration with friends, hands in his pockets.
We had times like that, I remember well...Mark being outrageous, and funny, and arguing, happily, for hours, on AD or any other topic. He loved to argue, smiling as he conceded (occasionally) or ripped apart some pompous claim (often). Mark made arguing fun- I can hear his voice at our study section, after a dreary slog through grant after turgid grant, saying something witty, or ironic, or just hilarious, just to wake us up.
I remember one meeting in which we reviewed 140 grants in two days, with Mark's incisive and often inflammatory insights spicing up the discussions...and the scotch afterward. We always celebrated after a day of reviewing.
Mark was bigger than life, brightly colored, fearless. I will miss him. I can picture him stepping away from the oncoming car.... I wish it were true.
Just last night I told my husband that I really wanted to focus on finally drafting my hypothesis paper on the possibility of a vascular defect connection with Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's. It had been, after all, over 8 months since my one (and now only) phone conversation with Mark, where he encouraged me to act on my hunch. He called my notion "brilliant" and "insightful". For a housewife with a very out-of-date Biology degree this was a banner moment! I regret that I allowed life and "the dailies" get in the way of my progress on the paper, as I was so looking forward to Mark's review and comment.
Ironically, I decided to check the JAD website this morning before I started in earnest on doing my literature research and that is when I found the news. I must say I'm a bit lost at the moment. When I spoke to Mark that day last spring, I wasn't at all aware of WHO I was speaking to- save that he was the editor-and-chief of JAD. After reading all of your accounts I can safely say that I had a chance meeting with one of the true great ones, and I feel for all of you as you adjust to his absence.
At the end of our conversation that day, I asked Mark how I should identify myself in the future-so that he would recognize me. He said "Just your name; I'll remember you." No Mark, it is I who will remember you. And the paper will be on George's desk by April.
I first met Mark at a conference where I was asked to give a talk about our work on the canine model of aging and how antioxidants improved cognition in old animals. We were outside chatting (those of you who knew him would know why we were outside!) and I immediately felt he was a kindred spirit. Mark was hilarious, brilliant and obviously passionate about science. He immediately put me at ease as I was quite nervous about giving this lecture. Over the years, we crossed paths many times and I always looked forward to catching him for chats and he always made time for me. Mark was supportive of our research both personally and publicly and I’ll never forget that. We may not have agreed on all things but we had a great deal of fun thinking of ways to test our hypotheses. I remember in particular one lunch where I sat between Mark and Jim Joseph and my stomach hurt from the laughter to be had during that time. I will miss him. The field will miss his passion, enthusiasm and engaging ideas. My heart goes out to Gemma and the boys but I hope they take solace in the fact, Mark was and will always be appreciated both as a scientist and as a wonderful human being.
The faculty, research and student associates of The University Center on Aging & Health (UCAH) at Case Western Reserve University were shocked and saddened by the untimely and tragic loss of our colleague and mentor Mark Smith. I believe that the students and post-doctoral fellows Mark mentored and supported are especially devastated. Mark had a unique ability to excite people about science and the possibilities of thinking outside the box of traditional scientific views. Mark was a highly respected and valued colleague who was always there with humor, openness, and a pragmatic common sense approach to solving problems and getting the work done. I especially liked the idea that he was not afraid to observe that the emperor had no clothes and along with that roll up his sleeves to solve the problem. Words are inadequate at times like this. We can only offer our collective thoughts and prayers to Gemma, their sons and other family members as they deal with this terrible loss.
Diana Lynn Morris
I just saw the sad message about Mark - I just wanted to send my condolences to you and everyone who knew him. He has always been a prolific submitter to F1000, which like the other notes of condolence on the various sites highlights how much he wanted to give to other researchers in the community in terms of his thoughts and ideas. I am very sorry to hear the sad news and my thoughts are with you all.
Mark was literally a lifesaver to me. He rescued me from a hard situation and became my PhD graduate advisor. I was only with Mark for 2 years, but in these last 2 years, I have learned so much more than I did in my previous lab. Mark’s gift of passion for science and life inspired hard work and perseverance in me as he would always tell me to “have fire in my belly.” It was that courage and fearlessness that I’m sure helped him pave the way which he has instilled into me. He truly loved teaching and I see that in the countless students that have been touched by him some way. He knew when to push and when to encourage. He expected greatness and we were compelled to give it to him. The opportunities he gave me through reviewing grants and papers and writing my own grants, reviews and papers have helped me grow as a scientist immensely. I am proud of all that I accomplished with him in my short 2 years and am sad that he will not get to see where I end up.
I share in the sadness and tears and my thoughts and prayers are with Gemma and the boys. I hope when the boys grow up, they will know what a great man their father was. We miss you Mark!
Beth Kumar was the first who reported to me this shocking news. Why?! Why Mark?! Why now?! I’m Russian and only got to know Mark two years ago. I only had time to receive a dozen emails from Mark, to write only one article with him, and to plan only one combined study. Only owing to Mark I learned his friends such as George Perry, Gjumrakch Aliev, Mike Marlatt, and Beth Kumar. We had no time to realize our joint ideas. Mark's loss will be greatly felt by me.
I present my condolences to Gemma and her two little sons, and to the whole scientific world.
I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to know and work with Mark. His ever present exuberance for EVERTHING made interacting with Mark a truly unique and most enjoyable experience. He was always open to new and “out of the box” ideas, and was willing to commit his time and resources to exploring them. Words simply cannot convey how much I will miss Mark’s friendship, his smile, his sense of humor, his dedicated support and collaboration...his presence.
-- Estimada Gemma,
Pocs amics teus i d'en Mark t'escriuen en català,, la teva llengua materna i la que ell volia aprendre. Varen coneixer a Mark a Barcelona, a la UAB de Bellaterra. Mark i tu dictaveu les dues confèrencies magistrals. Mark es va passa de temps, però no de conteingut. Era una màquina de buidar coneixament de forma el.legant i irradiant una simpatia desbordant. Desprès feu una visita a Fundació ACE i varem dinar plegats. Comentaves que a tots dos us 'agradaria que els vostres fills parlesin català i coneixesin bè el teu país. Ho farem sens dubte i de la mà d'uns bons amics teus.
Reb una cariynosa abraçada.
T'esperem a casa, com sempre.
It is with heavy hearts that we sadly inform the MSNO membership of the untimely passing of long-time member and past president, Mark A. Smith. Dr. Smith, a professor in the Dept. of Pathology and Alzheimer’s researcher at Case Western Reserve University, died in a tragic accident near his home on December 19th, 2010.
Please visit the MSNO web site to sign the online guest book and express your condolences or share your memorable recollections of Mark.
My memories of Mark include boating, cricket, and football (association football), as well as free radicals, oxidative stress, and Alzheimer disease. Mark was a warm, generous, and expansive person. His zest for life was infective and it is hard to imagine him being robbed at such a young age. Mark will be remembered for major contributions to the scientific literature, but I believe that his best work was yet to come. He will be sorely missed by his family, his many colleagues, and his devoted students and post docs.; despite all he achieved, and all he gave to the field, he was taken from us much too soon.
Kelvin J. A. Davies
This has been a sad announcement, indeed. I did not know Mark personally, but his reputation was acknowledged and I had the fortunate opportunity to know him from his work. Thank you for continuing your professional endeavour, I believe it must be tough in this moment.
All the best,
Emilio Di Maria
I was an undergraduate student in Mark's lab for three years and was immensely saddened by the news of his passing; I cannot begin to fathom the hurt Gemma and his family, Dr. Perry, and people who have known him for much longer are going through. Sad as I feel for his loved ones, I am comforted by the fact that there are so many people, all over the world, to comfort his family and friends in this sad time, and in years to come. To Mark's sons, know that all these people who your father touched will bend over backwards for you and your mother, just so they can attempt to take away your pain. Feel his love through us.
I feel privileged to have met Mark and to be able to say "Yes, I worked with a world leader. I was taught by the best." Mark's funeral has provided me with a sense of closure. I understand it is not as easy for those of you who were closer to Mark, but I hope that mental peace finds you soon. I will never forget Dr. Smith as he instilled in me a sense of ambition and purpose. He is my role model and has given me so much to strive towards; my selfish regret is that he will not be able to see my future success, but in my heart I know it will have been because of him. The only thing holding Mark back was gravity, and now he has defied physics to continue his greatness elsewhere.
I hope the new year comes with a sense of peace and the knowledge that Dr. Mark A. Smith will always be with us in our memories. Yashi Gupta
Mark and I on my last day at the Smith lab. I was so sad to leave such an amazing lab family - it was a truly unique lab and I will be lucky to end up in one half as successful, fun, and supportive in my future endeavors.
I was a very early contributor to JAD and came to communicate with Mark over the span of years through the journal. Mark was very supportive of my frequent submissions to the journal which in turn helped in my advancement. For that, I am grateful. Also, we came to interact over the cell cycle discussion. Some years ago, Voyager was investigating Leuprolide in the treatment of AD citing Mark's work that it would arrest abnormal cell cycle activity. Though the ALADDIN study ultimately did not succeed, many spirited discussions with Mark and others generated broad and interesting points of view which aided in preventing the myopia that is so frequent. Though I did not know Mark well, I always found him thoughtful and open to all aspects of AD research. His leadership with JAD will be one of his great legacies. He was a great scientist and a great man. He will be missed.
I am was very sad to hear this terrible news. I met Mark Smith when he visited our university to speak. As graduate students in the hosting and a collaborating lab, for two days we had the honor to meet with him, share our research projects, dine with him, drive together, etc. Whether in a large or small group, or one on one, I found Mark to be very likable, down-to-Earth and interesting. The last time I heard his voice (~6 months ago) was when my mentor told him over the phone that I would be defending my dissertation soon. He said over the speaker phone, "Oh, that should not be hard to do." I appreciated and will remember these encouraging words. My sincere condolences to his family.
I just met Dr. Smith once very briefly at the ICAD meeting in Hawaii. My remembrance is that he was a chraming person with pleasing personality. I could not help but admire his dedication and passion in making JAD one of the best journals in AD field, contributing to better unnderstanding of the development and progression of AD.
Balu R. Chakravarthy
Mark was one of a kind.
I still find it hard to believe he will not be there when I pick up the phone to call him, or that he will not send me a reply when I send him an email. What a loss for everyone who knew him.
That laugh, that smile, that witty remark that could always be counted on.
He made the world a better place in so many ways.
I am sad I did not take the opportunity to talk and to be with him more, I am sad I did not take the opportunity for my kids to know him, I am sad I did not take the opportunities I had to get to know his family, I am saddest for his family left behind.
Mark was an amazing man.
Most of my fondest memories of Mark involve discussions of science in a pub, discussions of life in a pub, and discussion of family on the walk back to the hotel.
The numerous people around the world taking their time to email their heartfelt loss for Mark, is testimony to the impact he had on so many lives. His quick departure from this world is testimony that we should not take life, family, or work for granted.
I will deeply miss Mark, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Your husband (father) was an amazing man in so many ways. He made the most of his opportunities, never met a stranger, worked like a dog, and pulled all the joy out of life that it had to give.
Mark made the world a better place, and his spirit will live on in the memories of all of us who were lucky enough to know him.
Mark I miss you, and I look forward to hearing that laugh and a good tale when me meet on the other side. First one is on me.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mark once, many years ago at an Aging conference where he had delivered an unusually contentious (in my experience thus far) talk on his latest work. His confidence and passion were unmatched by any speaker there or since and he held me with rapt attention. I had followed his work since beginning graduate school, but I struggled in presentations, and certainly in self-introductions. But I had to meet this man, who performed science as science should be performed and spoke and wrote so courageously and eloquently, as I wished I could. I still remember clearly catching him as he left the room, shaking his hand and introducing myself, and exchanging a few words about the work I was presenting. To my great surprise, he engaged with me for a few moments, as if he knew the work, as if he knew me, though I doubt he did; but in that moment, he touched my life and made me aspire all the more to be "like him", an aspiration I continue. This is indeed a tragedy for his family, his friends, and the field, and I feel like I have lost a long-time colleague--I wish I had known him as others did but yet strangely I feel like I knew him well.
I want to share with all of you my sadness over Mark's death. He and Gemma came to our Institution one year ago to give a double seminar. We were truly enchanted. The quality of their science, their generosity and attentiveness to faculty and students alike, their enthusiasm and the provocative teasing of Marks's left an imprint. Their visit was highly commented, and many emails followed thereafter, which were promptly replied by Mark and Gemma.
The only possible comfort is the feeling of luck to have met them. These are people who change their surroundings and touch people's lives. They provide luminous direction and help us reconcile with life. Nobody can replace Mark in Gemma`s life, but I hope that we will be able to give her back some of the encouragement they both gave us.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend, mentor and collaborator Mark Smith. From 1996 to 1999, I had the privilege as a medical student to know Mark and learn from him. I would drop by his laboratory unannounced whenever I had the chance, and he was never too busy to bring me into whatever problem he was working on. Those visits were always great fun. Mark was supportive during my medical school years and a loyal friend. We remained in touch, and in the last two years until the time of his death, we again found common interests and began collaborating.
Mark was an exuberant and joyful person. He became prolific simply because he found a mentor, a field, and a style that brought him joy. With a good sense of humor, Mark poked much more fun at himself then he did at the amyloid hypothesis. I admired his ability to be quick, and while he spoke of science by the numbers, the true value of Mark's contributions cannot be measured. In his short time with us, Mark advanced our understanding of neurodegenerative disease as a leader in the community, and he touched many lives. His death is a great loss, and my heart especially goes out to George and Mark's family.
Avi L. Friedlich
I wish nothing had happened that night and that you just needed a nap or a journey;
I wish you were sending us messages that you are fine;
I wish the journal club gathering where we sat side by side days ago had not been the last one;
I wish you would be returning after winter with your infectious passion, energy, humor, and joy;
I wish you could stay with your family, friends and colleagues forever.
The news of Mark's sudden death has shaken me. Please accept my most sincere sympathy and condolence. Mark was such a well-liked person that it is difficult to accept that he is not with us any longer. Mark was more than just a wonderful person; he was always so cheerful and considerate to us that we always welcomed seeing him at every opportunity. Mark was such a kind soul, who will be greatly missed by all who knew him. We shared a good time in Seoul last year after our annual International symposium. I will miss his big smile and passion for Alzheimer's research.
May God bless his family during this time and always.
With deepest sympathy,
Eun-Kyoung Choi, Catia Sorgato, Mark Smith, Xiongwei Zhu, Yong-Sun Kim
Mark Smith, Xiongwei Zhu, Eun-Kyoung Choi, Yong-Sun Kim, Catia Sorgato
Mark was a fantastic academic mentor and friend. He had an infectious
enthusiasm that immediately drew my attention as a student. Over the
years I gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience working with
him. I have many fond memories of Mark’s encouragement and drive that
continue to push my own work today. Mark was an absolutely great guy
outside the lab where we shared lots of laughs and stories. Mark laughed
and joked with a passion for life that is seldom seen. My heart breaks
for his family and their incredible loss. He will be deeply missed, I
will never forget him.
(L to R) Mike Marlatt, Mark Smith, Xiongwei Zhu
I am so sorry to hear of the death of Mark. I met him when I was working at Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel in 1991 and Mark was with Sandoz in Vienna at the same time. We met via an e-mail I’d sent to his e-mail address by mistake – but turned into friends. He and Andy McShea came to Basel to visit me one weekend – that was the one and only time that we ever met in person, but we’ve remained in contact over the years and I have fond memories of those times. I attach a photo of Mark taken that weekend. My deepest sympathies to his family.
I was shocked and distressed to hear the news of Mark’s sudden passing. Fifteen years ago, I met Mark at the 5th International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Osaka for the first time. A few years later, I joined George Perry’s laboratory and enjoyed the best part of my life in Alzheimer’s research with Mark and other colleagues. After I came back to Japan, Mark visited Japan several times. I really enjoyed discussion with Mark over Japanese dinner and sake. He always inspired me to think differently than other researchers. He always went ahead of the times, but sadly he’s gone to heaven.
Mark, I was fortunate to have you as a friend and a collaborator.
May this video candle light and music in memory of Mark speak for those of us who find it difficult to find words on hard to believe Mark's passing away.
Gemma, I wish you have enough strength at this difficult time. We are all short term guests on planet Earth and sometimes can do little to change the order of events. We, however, must be rock solid for those loved ones who is dependent on us. After all, you and your children are those to suffer most without beloved Mark. May God bless you! May Mark's soul rests in peace!
Stereographic video above has two separate image fields arranged side-by-side. The viewer is required to force his or her eyes either to cross, or to diverge, so that the two images appear to be three. Then as each eye sees a different image, the effect of depth is achieved in the central image of the three. It may take certain time to "see" a 3D image. Please don't "focus" on either video images, look ahead (beyond the screen) at the center of the video player screen and play with the viewing distance, it takes less then a second for me to see 3D video at the player above. To view similar video with 3D glasses, please follow video link below this video memorium at youtube.
I was shocked and grieved when George informed me of Mark’s premature passing. I cannot believe it even now, and still find myself expecting to receive an email from him about the manuscript we were preparing for publication. Mark’s ever-smiling face and the sound of his voice will never fade from my mind.
With Mark’s passing we have lost both a remarkable colleague and a really good friend. I have collaborated with Mark for many years and he has always been a source of help, advice and support. As we continue the work we began with Mark, we will always remember him, and try to continue our research with his spirit.
My heart goes out to Mark’s family, and I would like to express my condolences and the hope that they may find some comfort in this difficult time.
-- Mark was an outstanding mentor, brilliant scientist, and caring teacher to his students and colleagues. I remember that I was a lost sophomore in college when Mark decided to take a "stray cat" into his lab. Over a number of years, he deliberately and patiently mentored me into a better student and scientist. Unfailingly supportive, I would not be where I am at today if it were not for Mark's generosity. His quick wit and presence in the Alzheimer's community will be sorely missed. My thoughts and heartfelt condolences to his sons and Gemma.
My friend George Perry asked me to write a few lines in memory of Mark Smith, a request with which I comply with great sadness. Like many of my colleagues in the field of Alzheimer's research I was devastated to learn the terrible news of the death of Mark Smith. Mark has been an unquestionable leader in the field, whose contributions will outlive him for many years to come. I have tried to remember exactly when I met him for the first time and I have failed. It seems to me that Mark was always there, at many cross roads of my professional and personal life. I remember vividly his reassuring words when I moved from the UK to North America with my newly acquired British passport. I remember our many encounters in scientific meetings where Mark, unreservedly , approached me with his arms open, ready for a brotherly embrace. I remember him at our NIH Study Section passionately defending grants applications which had hypotheses or scientific approaches that he believed in strongly. I remember him with a glass of wine in his hands talking about "football" (soccer for the Americans...) or commenting on scientific developments (his own and other's) , with equal passion. In our encounters these themes (football and science) repeated again and again, tainted with his inimitable good humor and hyperbolic assertions.... The funny thing is that in that relationship I was more "the British" and he was more "the Latin" of us two. I can see him approaching me, calling me "Claudio", loudly, with the full musicality of his voice. It is unconceivable that such a "force of nature" , as he has been described, has left us. Mark's death has been a great loss for his family to whom I would like to express my sympathies and those of my wife , Martha. Mark's untimely death is also a great loss to our field of research. We lost a "knight", always ready to fight for newer and original ideas in our field of research, and a most dear friend.
It was with a sense of loss and great sadness that I learned of Mark's untimely death. I always enjoyed running into Mark at scientific conferences because he was quick in wit, extremely knowledgeable in neuroscience and his logic to sustain many arguments was nearly irreproachable. I remember one instance talking with him in a Tokyo metro as we returned from an Alzheimer meeting and were headed back to our hotels. Mark was engineering point by point the critical role of oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease and to me, it made so much sense that I became unaware I had missed my metro stop by several stations. Mark was one of those people who one loves to argue with, he was never arrogant or obnoxious, but he could hold his ground intellectually when discussing any issue that concerned his attention, and people listened and nodded, even when they held other views. I will miss him a lot.
Jack de la Torre
-- All of us at The Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation in Tucson, Az are shocked and saddened by Mark's loss. At a time when it is not often easy to find support for something different but worthwhile, Mark, as well as Dr. George Perry at JAD, have been exceedingly supportive. I met Mark for the first time in Hawaii this past July and was very happy to chat with him. He was so optimistic, encouraging, and bright. Many blessings to his wife and family. Dharma Singh Khalsa
We can’t believe that Prof. Mark A. Smith is no more. It’s shocking to us and we are speechless. He was a great personality and always extended his kind help and support to us in numerous occasions. We have lost one of our great mentors and no comfort is quite enough to replace the loss. We are very sad.
We express our sincere condolences on his death and send our thoughts and prayers to his family members at this difficult time. May the Almighty give his family members, friends, colleagues, and welwishers enough might to cope up the incidence.
IIOAB, India (www.iioab.webs.com / www.iioab.org)
I had the privilege of working side by side with Mark during my time in
Cleveland. Together we shared adjoining laboratory space on the 5th
floor of the Institute of Pathology building, space that no one else
would take, but that he turned into a paradise for scientific endeavor!
Mark's surroundings were however irrelevant to the forward momentum that
he generated with his considerable talents. Mark was a driving force in
the fight to identify the underlying etiology of Alzheimer's disease.
He had the capacity to look beyond the norm, generate data on pertinent
topics, distill information, conceptualize, and perhaps most
importantly, to cleverly analogize the concepts he developed into the
To Gemma, you have my heartfelt condolences. I was there when you came
together and you and your sons are in our prayers. In time your sons
William and Luke will come to learn of the inspiration that was their
father to those who worked with him and in the research world. My
thoughts are also with the entire Smith/Casadesus/Perry/Zhu/JAD team
during this difficult time.
Mark, you have been taken from us prematurely, but your legacy is out
there for the world to read, to marvel, and to act on. Many of your
groundbreaking ideas have yet to reach prime time.
I will end with an anecdote about a topic that Mark held very dear -
golf. Mark was a skilled golfer, he soundly beating me every time we
played. Indeed, I remember betting with him on the last hole to see who
would be buying drinks at the nineteenth, it was a foregone
conclusion.....this Christmas I will be buying another round, in your
I was in Cleveland when Mark arrived to work in George’s laboratory, in 1992. At once I was impressed by Mark’s abundant sense of humour. We used to smoke outside the building, talking about soccer and women.
At work Mark seemed to be lost, in the beginning. Hard to believe now since it is exactly contrary to the accomplishments that would unfold as he developed the energy and the exceptional drive that lead him to produce 500 papers in a few years. On those early days George was often very upset with him: one morning Mark found all his stuff in the hallway; George was at the point to fire him. I said to George to wait, “that British guy seemed to me very smart, and loyal”. Very soon, they became very close friends, and the most productive scientific team in the Alzheimer field.
We kept collaborating until now. I will miss his jokes, and his extraordinary sense of science.
I am deeply shocked with heartbreaking news that all of us unexpectedly lost such a great person, friend , excellent researcher, editor as Mark undisputable was. He will be greatly missed. Our prayers
go out for him and for his beloved ones.
Michal Novak and his team in Bratislava, Slovak Academy of Sciences
Mark was not only a brilliant researcher, he was an exceptional
person; he always praised your work while it was obviously that it did not reached
the scientific quality of his own. But his comments were always
positive and encouraged you to continue working. I always will remember
last October in Barcelona the "berberchos" and the beer we had in Born.
It is really very shocking and terrible news, and I have been so speechless that I was unable to write this note earlier.
Indeed, I have lost a great friend and scientific colleague. He was an extremely captivating, imaginative, creative and engaging individual with a great sense of humor. My last meeting, which I remember fondly, was when we shared a room during the ISN meeting at Busan, South Korea. I was truly having a great deal of fun with him, including going to the bar at 4 am and later eating omelet and toast from a street vendor at 8 am, sacrificing the delicious warm buffet breakfast served in the hotel. I'll definitely miss all this fun. After the meeting, we shopped around the supermarket to find a mix of coffee, cream and sugar individually wrapped, which was delicious and not available in the States. Mark pointed it out to me, and he actually bought me the first packet. Then, I had had a problem with my laptop better extender and the next day he got it for me without me asking. That was his generosity and friendliness.
Mark's energy was endless, and his multi-tasking was a worthy learning experience for me. We talked, and debated over the 'LEARn' model vs the Two-hit model over cold beer practically whole night. I still remember that we used to work in the same room at two ends-he was with JAD and I was with CAR, and sharing our thoughts in a competitive but dignified way in a, so to speak, true bipartisan manner! Something is rarely seen in Congress nowadays. Always, we had an enjoyable time together. He was also an active EAB member of two journals, CAR and CAS (Curr. Alz. Research and Curr. Aging Science, respectively). In addition to manuscript submission, he stood in the CAR booth on my behalf (I don't know how JAD would take this news) in one of the ICAD meetings.
In short, I will surely miss Marks's great wisdom, humor, intelligence and friendship. I strongly believe that the entire community has lost a truly special and gifted individual. Finally, my heart goes out to his lovely wife and children.
This picture was taken in the world's largest mall in Busan, S Korea with Mark. (Ever-smiling Mark Smith with Deb Lahiri)
This picture was also taken in the world's Largest mall in Busan, S Korea with Mark. Others were: Xiongwei Zhu, Kumar Sambamurti, and Hyoung-gon Lee.
Mark in the most creative mood at the Busan beach.
Mark was as full of life as anyone that I have ever known. Aside from his brilliant intellect and hard work he was eager to help, and always generous in helping to devise research plans, analyze data and prepare papers. He was not afraid to speak his mind and what he had to say was most always novel, of great interest and often humorous and delivered with charm. His loss is being felt by his friends, students and associates all over the world. Words are not adequate for an occasion such as this. My thoughts are very much with Gemma, the boys and the family.
(L to R): Rajesh Kalaria, Robert Friedland, George Perry, Mark Smith
Such a tragic loss to everyone and I'm deeply sadden for his
family and close friends. I got to know Mark only through a few
hilarious conversations at the bar or on the golf course. But I can tell
you that I feel very fortunate to have known an incredible human being.
It was obvious he had such a passion for life and he left a great
impression on me for the little time I knew him. Two very funny moments
are when he couldn't start his MG after the 2nd year and all the
profanities that were flying and this past year when he and I were
betting each other who could hit that swing set first at the driving
range. I'm glad to hear you have changed the name in dedication to Mark, it's the right thing to do. I unfortunately won't be able to make the
memorial service but I want you to know that I will keep his family and
close friends in my thoughts.
I am shocked and really can’t believe in the very sad news of Dr. Mark Smith’s sudden death. Indeed, we have lost an amazing friend, a remarkable human being. The loss is irreparable.
I dedicate the following lines from ‘Adonais: An Elegy On The Death Of John Keats’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley to Dr. Mark Smith.
Oh, weep for Adonais - he is dead!
Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep!
Yet wherefore? Quench within their burning bed
Thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart keep
Like his, a mute and uncomplaining sleep;
For he is gone, where all things wise and fair
Descend - oh, dream not that the amorous Deep
Will yet restore him to the vital air;
Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at our despair.
I had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Mark Smith during ICAD 2009 meeting in Vienna. He was on the JAD booth. When I introduced myself to him, he was so delighted to see me. Though before our meeting, we had a lot of email communication, the meeting was a surprise for both of his, and extremely delightful. He took me inside the booth and asked a colleague to take our photo (see attached) holding me a copy of JAD. I invited him for visiting ‘Bentham’ booth. The next day he was there. Jolly, lively and smiling. I was so impressed with his warm and friendly behavior. He took a print copy of ‘CAR’ and took some photographs with me. The memories which I will cherish forever. He was impressed with Prof. Lahiri’s dynamic leadership and rapid success of ‘CAR’. He said ‘put my name on as many Bentham titles editorial list as possible. I would like to be on editorial board of all Bentham journals, relevant to my expertise, because I love Bentham, and the guys from Bentham. They are doing excellent ‘cause they have shattered the monopoly of many. Bentham is non-political, unbiased and neutral, unlike others’. In that five days conference, I had the honor of meeting him daily and exchanged views with him on making ‘JAD’ and ‘CAR’ successful journals competing in a healthy environment. I was hoping that soon we will have an opportunity of meeting again in some other conference but alas! Mother Nature has had some other plans. I lament his death. I will again say that we have lost an honest friend, a precious editor of ‘CAR’, and a committed researcher. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE. AMEN.
Mr. M. Ilyas Khan, Managing Editor-Bentham OPEN, Bentham Science Publishers
Aching in your grief on the occasion of tragic events. A huge loss to humanity, science, friends and to the family. Mark is first and foremost a great man and brilliant mind. Continue to live through the tremendous work that he has left behind.
Associates and friends from Serbia: Vladan Bajic, Biljana Spremo-Potparevic, Bosiljka Plecas-Solarovic and Lada Zivkovic
I was shocked and I could not believe that this tragedy happened to such a wonderful friend, colleague, and a great scientist. Mark and I had fruitful collaboration for many years and just few days before this tragedy we had discussed our plans for a proposal to NIH. His creativity and inspiration are truly amazing. Mark’s generosity and friendship to his colleagues are unparalleled. We truly miss Mark but he will always be in our thoughts.
-- I first heard Mark speak in 1994 at the Fourth International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in Minneapolis. I was very impressed for three reasons: 1) It was clear that he was an original thinker who had no inhibitions at that time about sharing his views about what is Alzheimer’s disease, even though some might consider them “anti-establishment”; 2) Although he was very young (relative to me!), his scientific maturity was remarkable; and 3) Though he did not know much about me, a Canadian scientist from the “backwoods of Toronto”, he offered to do a specialized assay on some of our clinical samples! In brief, Mark gave me a shot in the arm at that time (so to speak), inspiring me and my students, by example, with courage to step outside the boxes of dogma that existed and still exist in the Alzheimer’s field. Needless to say, I continued to follow his publications (especially with George Perry) with delicious interest. After agreeing to be an Associate Editor of JAD in 2008, I interacted frequently with Mark in the reviewing and reviewing of numerous manuscripts, though I often needed reminding to keep to the JAD deadline. The unexpected news from the JAD office about his sudden death was a shock, and my heart goes out to his wife and family. Mark will be fondly remembered, especially as a role model and mentor, and his scientific legacy will continue to inspire.
Tony Turner, Jorg Schulz, and I have taken the decision to rename the Editors' Award to a young investigator. This will now be the Mark A. Smith Prize for an outstanding manuscript contributed to the Journal of Neurochemistry, and carries a $1,000 award (awarded in March 2011 for 2010).
-- I’m in a state of extreme shock after I found the terrible news of Mark. How can I believe that? I vividly remember the time when he visited Korea last year, joined our meeting and had energetic discussions with many neuroscience experts. He contributed a significant share to the field of Alzheimer research, and we could hardly see a scholar like Mark who was a man of superior ability and a good sense of humor. Many colleagues will remember him as a good friend and congenial co-researcher. Although he’s gone, unforgettable memories of him will always be with me in my heart. I’d like to offer my heartfelt condolences and consolation to Mark’s families, and hope Mark rest in peace.
I didn't know I had so many tears. I feel a piece of me is now missing. I met Mark 19 years ago in Cleveland, after he had just arrived, and was looking for a place to live. When he came to look at the apartment we ended up talking a couple hours and forgot why he was even there. He moved into the apartment the next day, and into our hearts for ever after. He had such charisma that when anyone met him it was like they had known him for years. Though we were roommates for over 3 years, he was more than a roommate he was family. And there are so few people like that in the world. The moment you met him you were hooked. He was the best man at our wedding though he had surgery the day before for a ruptured achilles tendon from playing racquet ball. But what was special was that he was actually there, in pain, but he made it. And that was Mark. He was an amazing person and a friend like no other. Last Halloween though he gave me a special gift. His phone did actually. It called my phone. And my voicemail captured over 30 minutes of he and the boys trick or treating. He loved those boys and Gemma with every cell of his being. And even when trick or treating that was obvious. I actually listened to it all, and while I couldn't always understand, I understood enough. I told him it was like the 3 Stooges Trick or Treating. I just laughed and laughed. And boy can he make people laugh. Since Sunday I have had a constant stream of memories running through my head - wonderful, funny, shocking, silly, and even tender. And that piece of me I thought was missing, I realize is now filled with all those memories.
Mark I can't believe you are gone. You were the brother I never had. I know you hate sloppy, but I thank God for blessing us with you while he did. The past 2 years your being my "just normal" shelter in the storm meant more to me than words can say. Thank you for being my friend. And remember when you told me you wanted to make a difference in life? You did. The Wizard of Oz said it best "...a heart is not judged by how much you love...but by how much you are loved by others." Good bye Mark.
This is really a very unexpected and sad news. A huge loss for the scientific community and for the Journal. Please accept and extend my deepest sympathies to all affected.
Mark, when a friend like you departs, an empty space always remains that could never be filled by the arrival of another friend. You will be alive in my heart till my turn also comes. And I will always get a chuckle when I think about some of the fun things we did together. Like when we were chased down the streets by a crowd in Jamaica, in the middle of the night. Or when you told the hooligans in that football game that I was rooting for the other team. Your early departure is a painful reminder that life has nothing to do with fairness. I will miss you my friend. Miguel Pappolla
I am really shocked and deeply saddened by this news. I had no idea. I met Mark only once, he was so full of energy and so very helpful. I will miss him always. Plesae convey my deepest sympathies to his family.
Go go go
To honor Mark Smith and encourage others to continue his traditions of scientific and teaching excellence, the American Aging Association Board voted immediately to establish a Mark A. Smith Memorial Award that will provide assistance to young gerontologists each year and recognition for their presentations at our annual meetings.
Mark was one of the American Aging Association's research superstars as well as the Association's Executive Director. Highly productive and often cited, well organized, always open to new ideas, and of course possessing a delightful personality and sense of humor, he was also very fair, open to ideas with which he disagreed, and very clear about his goals for our Association and the reasons behind each of his decisions. I consider myself quite fortunate to have worked with him on the Association's web site and a new fundraising project.
2010 has been a terrible year for us indeed. With the passing of Jim Joseph in May, we've now lost our most dynamic duo, at least from my perspective.
I recently asked Mark who might possibly replace Jim to add a spark to our CT fundraising effort, noting that Jim was a masterful storyteller who had his audience (including me) hanging on his every word when we helped kick off our Blueberry Health Study.
I told Mark that he was the best person I could think of -- with the same kind of energetic, engaging, often spellbinding personality we needed, and I asked if he would come to CT to meet with senior center leaders. He agreed, but now he's gone as well.
Mark's last words to me were "Go go go" in a November 23 email msg, indicating his enthusiasm for the fundraising plan and press release developed with his help. Judging from his very large number of publications (cited over 20,000 times according to ResearcherID.com, which he recommended to me and others in his previous email msg), his teaching awards, his service as our Executive Director and also as a co-Editor in Chief of J Alzh Dis, Mark must have always been on the go himself.
He never asked me for anything that might benefit himself but was solely motivated to take action for others. His consistent position during planning meetings was that everyone should have perfectly equal access to prospective donors, not just the most established researchers like himself who would be more impressive. Mark volunteered his own extremely limited time to help review and improve young Association member's project descriptions before they were posted on the fundraising page now being developed. I hope this page works out as Mark planned. Without the wisdom of our engaging superstar it will certainly be a steep journey.
One of Mark's requests to me was to call Denham Harman, who developed the free radical theory of aging and provided a framework for much of Alzheimer's research, to interview him at age 95 and post his favorite papers on our web site. Once I recovered a bit after hearing of Mark's departure this morning I decided the best I could do was carry out his wishes ASAP. So I called Dr. Harman and left a message with his wife. Implementing Mark's plans is one thing we can do for him, and I certainly will.
On the memorial page just posted for Mark on the American Aging Association's web site, comments are invited about Mark's advice to students and young scientists. These will be shared in their entirety with the Alzforum and offered for inclusion in the book about him that is being prepared. To contribute your recollections specifically about Mark's advice, please add them either to this forum or to his memorial page at AmericanAging.org.
May Mark inspire us always.
With very best wishes to his family and friends,
Board member and Immediate Past Vice President
American Aging Association
I am really sorry for the death of Dr. Smith. I did not have the
opportunity of meeting him in person, but I learnt about his important
contribution on science and the journal JAD and his dedication to the
field. My sympathies are with all who feel the pain of his departure having the
privilege of knowing Dr. Smith at a personal level.
With kindest regards,
Rommy Von Bernhardi
Sometimes it is impossible to understand why the best ones die so early. The first time that I saw Mark in person was at the ICAD meeting at Washington DC where he gave a brilliant talk. That meeting was the origin of a long friendship. Afterwards, we met several times in USA, Spain and other places around the world where meetings related to Alzheimer disease were organized. After each meeting I gradually realized Mark was one of the best ones. He was a very creative scientist always with novel and interesting ideas but, more important, he was an excellent human being, very generous and he had a great sense of humor. It was very easy to communicate with him. I knew him through George Perry, his friend, and there is a rule that has few exceptions: the (good and positive) characteristics and behavior of a man are usually shared by his friends and his family, this rule applied very well to Mark, his friend George and his wife Gemma.
I will miss Mark’s advice next time, when I will try to discuss on some aspects related with our scientific work, but mainly I will miss a top human being.
Deeply struck by the announcement of Mark's untimely death - I think he was a young and inspired scientist whose merits for neuroscience and JAD should never be forgotten. I share your grief and participate with your remembrence. His absence is a hard blow not only for all his friends but also for neuroscience and the growing Journal.
I have just sent to Mark an e-mail announcing submission of our last paper to the editor of the book and received the tragic news from Beth. I am speachless learning all this. I think of Gemma and the boys. We have seen each other at their house in February. We have had projects to apply for grants, to do experiments... I am so sorry, it's the biggest tragedy which may happen and it happend to him, to Gemma and ther sons... I wish it was a nightmare...
Mark was an amazing mentor who really went out of his way to
accomodate me into his lab at the last minute when I needed something
to do the summer after my first year of medical school. His
brilliance and quirkiness are well-attested by his daunting CV, but
infinitely more important was the time and energy he invested in so
many of us younger trainees, from high school students to junior
faculty; of course, this was always done with his characteristically
acerbic wit. He will be sorely missed.
Mark Smith was one of the most enjoyable, productive and provocative scientists whom I knew. Mark’s work on oxidative damage, done with George Perry, set forth a definitive body of literature characterizing the types, distribution and extent of oxidative damage in the brains of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease. In doing this work Mark (and George) have established a body of literature and a scientific paradigm that is indelibly connected with their intellectual imprints.
My memories and appreciation of Mark, though, extend far beyond the oxidative damage hypothesis. Mark was an editor with incredible energy, a performer, a provocateur, a comic and just an incredible “bloke”. Mark consistently challenged the prevailing amyloid cascade hypothesis, cogently pointing out its weaknesses. Mark’s comments forced one to critically evaluate the literature, and to acknowledge the holes in the logic. I remember presenting a staged argument of the amyloid cascade hypothesis at a geriatrics meeting in Boston. Mark and I met before hand, planned out the argument, critically evaluating each other’s points, but also brainstorming about how to make the debate amusing and exciting. Mark and I often joked around, and with an audience in front of him Mark performance was so strong that it had me laughing instead of trying to present the argument. He was just ever-so-much a character!
Mark also had this “down-to-earth” side to him that was simply wonderful. When I visited him in Cleveland, he drove me around the city showing me where all his favorite bars were, describing each one with a delight that was infectious (and I say that as someone who doesn’t typically frequent bars…..). The fact that Mark died after a stint at a bar somehow fits with one of my images of Mark – as one of these amazing people who was a great researcher but also had this unusual “rough and tumble” side of his personality. Mark also had a corresponding amazing set of “practical” skills. In addition to doing his science and to being the co-editor for the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, a husband, and a father, Mark was a carpenter and a landlord. Mark would buy run down houses, rehabilitate them himself and then rent them or sell them. I still don’t understand how he accomplished this while doing everything else.
My heartfelt condolences go out to Gemma and her sons. Mark was an incredible person and an incredible presence. Losing a loved one is tragic, and I imagine that for Gemma and her sons the tragedy is magnified by the immense presence that was Mark Smith.
We will miss Mark the scientist, but I will miss the most Mark the friend. My heartfelt condolences to Gemma and the boys. I agree with Ashley Bush. Mark would love us to have an ale in his honor. I know I will.
Alois Alzheimer died on December 19, 1915. On the same date this year, we lost one of the most brilliant neuroscientists in the field of Alzheimer’s disease research. Mark was a man with a clear head and unusual creative powers who had a strong sense for scientific truth. He will remain in our hearts and continue serving inspiration.
I never met Mark personally, but the terrible new of his premature passing was a very sad opportunity to think at him and at his brilliant work for the Alzheimer research community. I never met Mark, but I feel to have lost a friend. In these difficult days, I read here the long list of friends and colleagues that have memories of Mark and his inspired ideas. Your family, your many friends , and your wonderful work remain to remember you.
Mark Smith first came to my attention while I was a PhD student, when I began citing his work on iron and oxidative stress in brains from Alzheimer disease patients. I was very impressed with his work and decided that I would like to undertake a postdoctoral position in his lab. After writing to him from Melbourne, Australia to express this desire, I remember being ecstatic to receive a positive reply from him that he would accept me once I had submitted my thesis. In January 2002 I arrived in Cleveland, Ohio to begin my postdoctoral position at Case Western Reserve University under the guidance of Mark, as well as Craig Atwood and George Perry. For the first few weeks after I arrived, I stayed with Mark and his dog until I adjusted to my new surroundings and found my own place. As a displaced Australian, I found Mark’s English humour to be of great assistance in helping me to settle in, as well as his ability to understand my lingo. Most of all, I remember Mark as a very boisterous and energetic person who was always on the go, and someone who had an incredibly generous spirit. He was continuously looking for the next hot topic for his research and continually challenged the opinions of others, and often had heated debates. There were certainly a number of times that we had substantial differences of opinion; however his support for me never ceased and indeed continued long after I had left his lab. Mark had an exceptional gift to work with others, and as such had an extensive list of collaborators around the world, and also an extensive number of PhD students and postdoctoral trainees. He liked to share credit when possible and encouraged his trainees to write articles, present conference abstracts and review manuscripts, which allowed them to progressively strengthen their track records and increase their likelihood of success in their future endeavours. I remained at CWRU for 18 months, and during this time Mark served as a mentor and determined numerous opportunities for me to increase my training and advance my scientific career. Mark assisted me in obtaining my research fellowship when I returned to Australia, allowing me to begin down the path of becoming an independent researcher with a tenured faculty position. Mark’s mentorship had a lasting effect on my views of science and my approach to research that will not be forgotten. His sons can be proud knowing that their father achieved so much in his life and touched the lives of so many people; it is only a shame that he could not have kept doing so for longer.
I have no words to the sad news. Life is just like crystal of snow,it is
beautiful and melts up quickly. Mark always said that amyloid is a good guy,
which is becoming true more and more. I remember well the day as if it was
yesterday, when we played early morning golf at Trinidad Tobago. See you
somewhere in the heaven.
Mark was a passionate researcher, scientist, husband, father, and friend. His brilliance, quick wit and joie de vivre were something to behold and to be in the presence of; I count my self so fortunate to have known him. The world of Alzheimer’s research and discovery will greatly miss his tremendous contributions as there was so much more to come. May God bless Gemma and their boys and all who knew or worked with him. We all mourn his passing.
Mark was was an original thinker, looking outside the box. His novel ideas about beta amyloid moved the field forward and challenged us.
He was also a great mentor, and even 40 below did not stop him from helping establish neuroscience in Alaska.
It is with great shock and deep sadness that we learned of Mark's
tragic passing. Mark had a long history of collaborating with Takeda
CNS scientists and through his current project on obesity, would have
expanded that successful relationship to our obesity colleagues.
Mark's energy, enthusiasm, and expertise made all of us believe that
even the toughest of diseases, like AD, would eventually succumb to
good science. I met Mark for the first time just a few weeks ago in
London and will treasure the one-on-one discussion we had one evening
encompassing both science and more philosophical subjects, including
the responsibilities of mentors to students and fellows. I mourn the
loss of further opportunity to build on that great beginning.
On behalf of all of Takeda, we extend our deepest condolences to
Mark's family and Case Western colleagues. He is a great scientist and
an even better human being, who will be sorely missed.
With deepest sympathy and sincerest respect,
Ronald E. Law PhD, JD
What a shock! What a tragedy! I can’t believe that I’m sitting down to think about how I will remember Mark Smith. We just had lunch with him last week and he regaled us with all the important experiments to be done in Alzheimer disease. I first knew Mark as an outstanding Alzheimer Disease researcher. I knew that he always challenged the dogma and pushed the field forward with bold new concepts. His name was first on the international list of Alzheimer Disease Researchers. Later Mark became involved as part of the Steering Committee for the CWRU Scientific Enrichment and Opportunity Program, an initiative to motivate and prepare high school students from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to enter careers in Healthcare and Biomedical Research. He was incredibly stimulating and engaging for these underprivileged students when he began talking to them about his own humble but proud beginnings in a coal mining family and his career trajectory to become a leader in the Alzheimer Research Field (see attached pictures of Mark with the SEO students). Mark had Chutzpah. Once when I called him, his secretary said he was busy. I told her to tell him it was important. The answer came back, that nothing was as important as watching the Brits play in the World Cup Soccer games and don’t bother him till it’s over. I am reminded of the Grantland Rice quote "For when the One Great Scorer comes To write against your name, He marks - not that you won or lost - But how you played the game." Mark won some and he lost some. But he played with great skill, knowledge, creativity and flair. Nobody played the game better. Goodbye my friend. I wish Gemma and the family all the best and the comfort of knowing that Mark is playing with class in that great soccer game in the sky.
If somebody could make sense out of non-sense, it was Mark
If somebody could convert dull conversation to active conversation, it was Mark
If somebody could understood the plight of scientists, it was Mark
Scientific community will surely miss Mark Smith.
I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear the tragic passing of Mark, a great and renowned scientist of the neuroscience world. Even though I never met Mark in person, we had numerous phone and email conversations about my research and our collaboration and we were planning to resubmit our proposal this coming February. Mark was very supportive to young investigator like me in AD area and I still remember his inspiring advice and insights combined with a great sense of humor. The world has lost a brilliant neuroscientist and we have lost a great and dear friend. My prayers go out to his family at this difficult moment.
I met Mark Smith when I went to George’s laboratory in 2004. Mark was the cheerful guy that made me feel at home. Since that time he became a strong supporter of my scientific career and, most importantly, a friend. There is a Portuguese word “Saudade” that summarizes what we feel with his departure. Thank you, Mark, for everything. You will always be remembered.
-- Mark was a remarkable person and a remarkable scientist. Last time that we met, during the
last CoNY meeting in Barcelona we were queuing hours to buy tickets for the Barça match. We
talked about AD, football, kids, building houses… it was fun, as always with Mark. We loss a
good friend, but his inspiration stays. Mi más sentido pésame a la familia.
-- I just learned of Mark Smith’s untimely passing and am greatly saddened and shocked. I know the two of you collaborated frequently, particularly in the American Journal of Pathology. Mark was a pleasure to work with as an author and reviewer for the AJP. I’m sure you were also good friends, and I want to pass on my personal condolences to you for this unexpected loss.
With kindest regards,
Audra E. Cox
Mark will long be remembered as an energetic prolific Alzheimer researcher willing to follow the data instead of the bandwagon. His horse for a primary pathogenic role of reactive oxygen species remains in the race while others are faltering. May Gemma and kids remember him for his energy and love for people.
Grace to you,
Gregory J. Brewer
Mark was a wonderful person, I will miss him. Since the first time I met him (in 1998 at the ASN meeting in New Orleans) to the last talk we had at ICAD this year in Hawaii he always gave me confidence and support. I will always remember him in the welcome reception of the ISN meeting in Buenos Aires 2001: after telling me how much fun he had had after seeing Argentinean soccer teams at the River Plate Stadium, he took out from his pocket precious antibodies that I needed to get results for my paper (at that time I did not have enough money to buy them). He was funny, warm and compassionate, always willing to help without asking anything in return; rare attributes to find in our field. Mark will be greatly remembered in our lab.
Laura Morelli and Laboratory
I am extremely sad to learn the untimely passing away of Dr. Mark A Smith. Although I did not know him personally, I have heard only nice things about him from others who interacted with him. He was a good and hardworking research scientist who made significant and passionate contribution to the cause of neuroscience of aging. He did a great job as the Editor of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. His is a loss not just for the journal or Case Western but for the entire scientific community.
P. Mohanakrishnan Menon
I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Mark. He made numerous important contributions to the study of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and mentored many including me. His insight and enthusiasm will be profoundly missed.
Alzheimer's scientists want to live to see our collective impact on slowing Alzheimer's and, with this poor funding climate, progress is so delayed that more and more scientists won't live to see the fruition of our work. Mark identified oxidative mechanisms as major pathogenic pathways in Alzheimer's and this work cannot be ignored in interventions. To lose another key scientist is a great loss. His requests for me to review JAD articles were considerate and about the only manuscripts I could enjoy critiquing. He somehow knew which articles I could review in a flash. The Alzheimer scientist community will miss Mark Smith deeply, but when I think about him, I always remember the first time I met him at a Winter brain before 2000. I had just broken my nose in a silly ski accident right before a lecture I had to give- I was really embarrassed how I looked, and I remember his heartfelt kindness, ignoring my black and swollen face and speaking to me with respect about my research. Don Ingram told my husband Greg Cole about this tragic loss, but Greg knew how upset I would be, so he waited until I got home at 9 PM, then he told me. I didn't have time to look at news or emails or anything -but my whole day felt like a bad omen - somehow the news of this senseless accident and loss of a great and fair scientist made unbearable sense, and I just started sobbing.
-- Thanks Mark! you have been and always will be an example for all of us, but especially you will be in our hearts as a friend". We are like a big family around the world with a common goal: to defeat Alzheimer's disease.. In this day the scientific world, our scientific family, has lost an important part of himself..
-- Mark was a wonderful colleague with an avant-garde view of our imperfect World. He was delightful and charming. I greatly appreciated his efforts to challenge our ways of thinking and keep us communicating effectively. I will miss him.
Mark, I am saddened to hear of your passing. I can't believe something like this has happened, as you were truly one of the "good guys" that I have had the pleasure of working with in my career. I will always remember the seemingly endless conversations that we would have over a beer late at night while on the road sharing our story to interested parties, both scientific and non scientists.
Not being a scientist, I particularly appreciated your ability to translate deeply technical data into useful information that the "average" guy/gal could follow. It was a real gift you had,...one of many, to be able to relate your work to so many, across such a broad spectrum. Your style was always very inspirational, compelling and convincing as your passion for your work and frequently the work of others just flowed effortlessly from your heart. You really believed in what you were doing and would not let the "brightest minds" in the world distract you from your data and what that data suggest. We did have some "great data" didn't we....
You understood the way of the world, yet you never let it sway you. It never held you back from pursuing your beliefs, beliefs that put you at risk with the "main stream". I learned from you, competence and courage, data driven facts, passion for what you believed to be right.
Science needs more people like you, not just followers, but ...leaders, independent thinkers, creative and imaginative minds. People who can see what is behind the data. The Alzheimer's research world lost a great man this week, an under appreciated man and scientist.
My prayers are with Gemma and your boys. Every time we had a chance to speak, you would mention your beautiful wife and the Mother of your sons. You were so proud of them....may God bless them and keep them in his hands...
I will never forget you Mark and all good that you represented and brought to this world..
With Mark’s tragic and untimely passing, the international neuroscience community has lost one of its greatest AD researchers. Mark was much more than an outstanding scientist who continually challenged existing dogma regarding AD pathogenesis, he was a selfless individual totally devoted to finding a therapeutic against the disease. Unhindered by the myopia of thinking that a single synthetic agent would be that therapeutic, Mark explored (and welcomed) alternatives to synthetic drug development that are safe and potentially disease-modifying (e.g., nutraceuticals, EMF therapy). Through his efforts as co-Editor-and-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, new approaches to AD therapeutics have been presented to AD researchers. Indeed, I believe that if Mark had been with us for the time that he deserved, he would have in some significant way been part of what will eventually be found to be an effective AD therapeutic – his research contributions and thinking have already contributed immeasurably to the field. When Mark and I talked in Cleveland earlier this year, I indicated to him that he had already accomplished in his mid-40s what most researchers dream to accomplish in an entire career and that there must be at least two clones of him in view of all he has done. Ever the modest person, Mark will serve as an inspiration to many dedicated AD researchers who truly want to find a cure for this disease as soon as possible --no matter what the mechanism and no matter what is currently in vogue for funding. Mark’s spirit and unceasing motivation for getting to the root cause of AD and finding an effective treatment will be sorely missed. My deepest sympathy goes to Gemma and their children, for we have all lost a truly great scientist and most extraordinary human being.
We found no better way to start our testimony than by saying: What a privilege was to know Mark Smith! We met him in the first or second week of January/2010 when we arrived Cleveland to attend at Case Western Reserve University for 6 months as foreign graduate students. We cannot forget that he invited all the students in his lab to a dinner in his home, in his family environment, which, to us particularly, made us feel a little more warmer inside and integrated, since it was the beginning of our stay away from our families, friends and country. A brilliant and challenging scientist, and a mentor interested in students’ opinions and thoughts. A source of optimism. He was one of a kind, one of those persons that does not pass indifferent in anyone’s life. Our best tribute to Mark will be continuing to do science and have “great data” as he always said to us.“The PORTUGUESE” will never forget you.
This photo is from ICAD meeting in Hawaii, 2010. This was the last time that we passed time with Mark.
It was a well spent afternoon with lots of interesting talks, laughs and cocktails. Thanks for believing in us, Mark.
Sónia C. Correia and Renato X. Santos
We will miss Mark’s inspiring talks and challenging ideas. His legacy in Alzheimer research will remain as a big push to understand this elusive disease. I remember him in his last conference in Barcelona, where all were touched by his enthusiasm and good science. My sincere condolences to all that loved and admired him.
It was with incredible shock and sadness that I and my colleagues heard the news about Mark.
For the past three years I worked with Mark on publishing and developing the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Together with George Perry and Beth Kumar, the journal is run by an incredibly energetic and involved team that, by great enthusiasm and expertise, has turned it into the most prolific Alzheimer disease publication in the world, and one of the highest rated journals within the field. For me this has meant sometimes curbing certain (to me) crazy ideas, but mostly working to facilitate those creative concepts that have brought the journal to new heights. Mark was proud of his journal's accomplishments and invested a lot of his time in it. He was the epitome of a great and innovative Editor in Chief.
Personally, I always loved meeting up with Mark. It was inspiring to be swept away by his enthusiam and networking skills, by his no-nonsense attitute and his expert leading of our Editorial Board meetings at the annual ICAD meeting that not only motivated our editors, but also always had us laughing. He was certainly a valuable asset to the world of AD science and an excellent colleague, but much more than that, he was a kind friend who always made you feel welcome and who was great fun to be around. My work in this field will certainly be emptier without him, and I will miss him.
My heart goes out to Mark's family and loved ones. I can only wish them strength in these difficult times.
Rasjel van der Holst
I had the privilege of working with Mark on a few papers and also meeting him when he came to Keele a few years ago. Keele were trying to recruit a few "research superstars" to bolster our profile in health science and convincing the university administration to see if Mark would be interested was a very easy sell. It was such a pleasure to meet with him during his visit and we discussed many aspects of our research - but he was also very interested in the local football (soccer) team, Stoke City. I think he spent as much time considering whether he could become a Stoke City supporter as whether he would be happy doing research at Keele.
To say that we have lost a giant in the field almost seems trite. Mark was totally dedicated to moving this field forward and he was not afraid to question anyone about anything and propose theories that went against received wisdom. He was not happy making incremental advances and "going with the flow". His passion was to understand neurodegenerative diseases and to find a cure, in short, to help people. He seemed to have boundless energy and enthusiasm for everything but it was clear that his greatest passion was for his family.
When our work using physics techniques to map and characterize magnetic iron compounds in Alzheimer's was considered a bit on the fringe, Mark threw his support and encouragement behind us and our modest success in this area is due in part to that support. Though we may never fully understand Alzheimer's disease, the work that Mark did made a massive impact in moving towards that goal and his contribution will be sorely missed. I can only offer my sincerest condolences to Mark's family, friends, colleagues and lab team at this sad time.
Your letter left me astonished. This is something you would never expect. The death of a person with such a charge of energy and enthusiasm for life leave me full of sadness as I think it happened to everybody who received your letter. I met Mark a few times at our editorial meetings and at conferences and I found him a very friendly and warm person. I will be missing him.
With the warmest regards,
Losing Mark at any age would be a loss. Losing such a colleague at his age is a tragedy for me and the community. His brilliance and unpredictability made him a creative scientist and a great and enjoyable person to be around. In his unconventional way, he was very encouraging. In his talks and in person, he had a unique way of encouraging one to think in new ways. His organizational skills for meetings including the Tobago meeting, the ISN, the ASN or all of the "special issues" volumes he created were unmatched. They benefited me and the whole community and will be missed. In spite of his outgoing personality with his unique view of the world that we all enjoyed, he performed many supportive acts of kindness behind the scenes that he never mentioned to the beneficiary including me. I will miss him. My deepest sympathy goes to his family who obviously miss him orders of magnitude more. They should take comfort in knowing he was an outstanding, creative scientist and a great person to multitudes of people.
We lost a brilliant scientist. To Mark: “Non aetate verum ingenio apiscitur sapientia" (Tito Maccio Plauto).
I was shocked and extremely saddened on hearing the news of Mark’s death. I think of him as an old friend, having first met him some 20 or more years ago. I always very much admired his trenchant and courageous stand against the prejudiced, entrenched views of some in the field, which contrasted so strongly with his openness to new concepts. His support for our “heretical” work and his encouragement was a great help for us in maintaining our morale. His affable chats with me and my husband (my “accompanying person”), at conferences were a pleasure; he obviously wasn’t too concerned with just networking with influential people there. I was delighted when, a few years ago, he told me and my husband that he’d got married, and introduced us to his wife. It must be a terrible time for her now. Certainly, I will miss him greatly, personally as well as scientifically, and will always remember his talks: his stentorian voice and iconoclastic words, denouncing blinkered reactionary attitudes were essential for true scientific discourse. His death is a great loss for all of us, and a loss for science.
-- Mark has been a really good friend with a wild sense of humor and an equally feral imagination. His work over the years has been very interesting and diverse. My extended visit with him, Hyoung-gon Lee, Mike Lee and Xiongwei Zhu in Korea was really a great deal of fun and his willingness to try out anything was remarkable. He was always ready to go to a bar at 2 AM and came up with the craziest metaphors. I will certainly miss all that. As someone who believes that amyloid is only a part of the Alzheimer’s disease degeneration story, Mark was certainly a sympathetic audience. While he was known for his anti-amyloid stance, his arguments were cogent. His visit and talks at the Mayo Clinic and at MUSC were excellent and balanced. While Mark often ignored the genetic association of amyloid, he used pathology information to create a large body of work that covers AD very broadly and identified an incredible array of factors that may form the basis for neurodegeneration in the disease. With 800 publications, there was almost no area of AD that was left untouched by Mark. His targets ranged from amyloid and Tau pathologies, oxidative stress, metal homeostasis, hormone imbalance, glucocorticoids, nonenzymatic glycation, leptin, diabetes, lipids, cholesterol, apolipoproteins, homocysteine and cell cycle to mitochondria and energy metabolism. He amassed data showing the association of several of these factors with AD demonstrating the complexity of its pathology that has not yet been uncovered by systematic manipulation or genetic association. He was certainly quite balanced but quite forceful and articulate during arguments. He was also incredibly energetic and organized and very effective at managing JAD to raise its impact to over 5. While my heart goes out to his young wife and children, I feel that the entire community has lost someone very special. The entire AD community will certainly miss Mark a great deal and the field has certainly lost an important soldier. I will definitely miss his great humor, friendship and intelligence.
Mark Smith was such a vital source of energy, tireless and most respected researcher, and a helpful colleague to the Alzheimer community. I was stunned and shock to receive the news of his sudden death, especially in such a random and sensless way. There is no consolation to his family except the solace that our community will also miss him dearly, and hold his inspiring memory and enduring life work, close to our hearts.
Alejandra del Carmen Alonso
Today, December 22nd 2010, I have heard the terrible and sad news of the passing of Professor Mark A. Smith. Your passing away was so devastated to me. I never met Professor Mark A. Smith before, but I consider him one of my best friends. Mark was the only person who believed in my idea. No one believed in my idea until Professor Mark A. Smith gave me the opportunity to work with him. It was a pleasure and honor to work with you my friend Mark. I only knew him through the many emails and phone calls that we had exchanged. To me, it was like I have known him for many years. He fervently listened to what I have to say when no one would give me the time of the day, he unconditionally offered his precious time, he offered his knowledge at no cost, he guided me, and he was like a mentor to me even though I never met him. Mark was so dedicated to his family and work. I remembered his voice and all the time we spent talking on the phone. Mark, I will miss you so much, I will miss talking to you, and the whole scientific community will miss you as well. What a grave loss! Humanity lost a son, brother, husband, father, mentor, teacher, and one of its great achievers that made many scientific discoveries that will help and guide it.
Mark, to me you were the ears that heard my plea and gave me the opportunity because you believed that no idea is a terrible idea. No one listened to my plea and cry until our paths crossed when I have submitted my manuscript to your journal, J. Alzheimer’s Disease, four years ago. I never met you, but I feel that I have known you for ages.
Rest in peace my friend, and just look at us from above. Rest assure my friend that I will carry on, and I hope that Almighty God will guide me in our pursuit to help our fellow man.
Finally, I would like to extend my sincerest sympathy and condolences to Mark’s family, friends, students and all who have known this wonderful and humble person. Your powerful and strong voice, and your British accent will always echo in my ears my friend. Kareem I. Batarseh
I am extremly sad to hear that my good friend and colleague Mark has passed
away untimely. It is a great loss of all of us. My deep condolences to Gemma, her family and to you for such a great loss.
I remember many good memories including visiting his home in winter 2004. Here are some pictures which are unforgettable.
Even if death is part of our life as human beings it is always difficult to accept it. I’m still astonished about Mark’s death. I never met Mark, but day after day he became part of my scientific life. He was continuously sending me e-mails asking to review papers for JAD, or for other neuroscience journals. Mark’s invitations to review were so frequent in the last period that I had the opportunity to know both the Editor and the man sitting on the Editorial Board. I had therefore the opportunity to appreciate his scientific correctness and his open mind. Moreover, working in the field of AD, Mark’s papers were always on my desk and have been a great source of inspiration. Our community has lost a great Editor and an outstanding scientist. It happened too early, it was unexpected and hard to accept! Dear Mark, we can only admire the great amount of good science that you have done in these few years among us. Thanks for what you gave to our scientific community. I’ll miss you Mark, I’ll miss your papers and your e-mails. May God take care of Your Soul!
I felt a real pain when learning about Mark A. Smith sudden loss. Before being in personal contact with him, I knew him by fame-he was one of the most cited scientists in the biomedical field. Recently, I deeply appreciated his qualities as Editor-in-Chief: balance, fairness, love for good science, and warm humanity would promptly conquer anyone's friendship.
I deeply regret his premature loss but, no doubt, shall remember him with affectionate admiration.
-- This is very sad news. Almost everyone in the Alzheimer community knows the work of Mark Smith. Also within the framework of the International Society Alzheimer Research ISAO, Mark has been very helpful over the years as a highly reliable, sharp and constructive reviewer. We wish his family, friends and colleagues our sincerest sympathies. He will be sorely missed.
Lab photo of the Carolyn Foster lab at Sandoz Forschungs Institute/Novartis Research Institute, Vienna Austria 1991
Left to right: Mark (with hair in those days!), Andy McShea, Carolyn Foster, Eva, Brigitte, Toni Winiski
The freshly-minted Dr Smith at work late at night (waiting for his Mac to boot up) at Sandoz Forschungs Institute 1991
The young Dr Smith at work on the brakes of his beloved Volvo in the 23rd district of Vienna, Austria 1991
I wasn’t expecting to eulogize my dear friend and colleague Mark.... we were not done with our science projects yet and had so many things left to do. It was with tremendous sadness that I heard we had suddenly lost an old friend, a bright mind and a father of a wonderful family.
Mark was a colorful and controversial character. He was exceptional and nothing like the normal run-of-the-mill, dull-as-dishwater science Professor you might imagine. He was extremely kind, brave, eloquently outspoken, intelligent and more than occasionally irreverent. It was a wonderful combination that allowed him to break with convention and challenge dumb ideas ingrained in the scientific establishment. It was because of Mark that I pursued a career in science for over a decade, leaving Europe to come to the US.
Mark flourished working with George Perry at Case Western. Before coming to the US he spent some time in Vienna, Austria having just completed his PhD in England. It was during his time in Vienna that I met Mark working in the lab of Carolyn Foster at Sandoz.
Vienna was wild and crazy at times. There was a group of us doing internships at the Sandoz Research Institute at the time and Mark joined the fray having just got his Ph.D. We were staying in this funky 25 room hostel in the Schlossgarten Strasse in the Mauer district of Vienna with some “out-there” landlords. None of us had much money at the time and I remember Mark got into a little trouble with the local bank because a junior manager at Bank Austria had been too eager to lend money to the dashing young English scientist (these were the days before sub-prime loans were cool!). Mark took the credit and went out and bought this flashy, but decidedly secondhand, silver Volvo and would ferry us students and friends around Vienna with the windows down and the Quireboy’s blasting out of the stereo. We felt like we had arrived in the world and went on to do more worthwhile things than disturbing the peace. I remember one time we just blasted over to Basel on a whim (a 9 hour drive) in the Volvo after getting an accidental email from another group of fun-sounding student interns at Sandoz in Switzerland....(those were also the days long before Facebook or the world wide web). Mark was young, the life of the party and always getting into a spot of bother but he always gave a damn about the science and would somehow make it to the lab. If there was anyone that could make the day-to-day routine of science look fun and inspiring it was Mark.
In the mid-1990’s I was able to work with Mark again. This time I was in Seattle and he was at Case Western. We were working on this cell cycle and Alzheimer’s idea together. Mark was vivacious and dedicated time and energy to push the envelope to explore new ideas. The ideas at the time seemed off-the-wall and marginal but the effort paid off. Over the years we would stay in touch despite our careers having gone toward different trajectories. Mark was always a straight shooter and easy to deal with.
Mark, I would had never imagined it would end this way. You have given so much life and joy to so many and you will live on in our hearts. I can only wish your bold spirit good luck. As you liked to say during our time in Vienna paraphrasing the commentary of the 1966 England vs. Germany World Cup (although I think it might be the remix of Wolstenholmes commentary by New Order...)....”They think it’s all over...”.
My heartfelt condolences to Gemma and the boys, his friends and family. If any of you ever need anything in Seattle please don’t hesitate to call on me.
I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Mark Smith. His death is a terrible loss of the international scientific community. His valuable attributions to the Alzheimer’s research field will be greatly remembered.
-- Mark, how is it possible you left your family and all your colleagues and friends in such a rush? Didn’t you email me about our research collaboration this past Thursday? I just got the antibodies you requested ready for you this week… Mark, I was so shock and sad to hear the tragic news. You are such a wonderful friend, a great scientist, and an extraordinary human being. Your contributions to Alzheimer’s field, your amazing personality, your talent, and your energy have inspired many of us. I will miss you terribly.
-- I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear the tragic passing of Mark, a great and renowned scientist of the neuroscience world. Even though I never met Mark in person, we had numerous phone and email conversations about my research and our collaboration and we were planning to resubmit our proposal this coming February. Mark was very supportive to young investigator like me in AD area and I still remember his inspiring advice and insights combined with a great sense of humor. The world has lost a brilliant neuroscientist and we have lost a great and dear friend. My prayers go out to his family at this difficult moment.
I am so saddened by the shocking and heartbreaking news. Actually, on the 10th of December, I just discussed with Mark about sending a letter to the NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, in which I asked Mark if we, Chinese scientists, could sign the letter. I got his positive answer on the 16th. I knew Mark 12 years ago when I worked at the Karolinska Institute. We communicated several times and I met him at an AD-PD meeting in Spain. Mark was one of the top scientists with a strong reputation in neuroscience and gave us great contributions to the field of Alzheimer's disease research. Finally he gave his life to his scientific career. Mark, you were a respected supervisor and good friend of us, Chinese scientists. We remember you forever and forever!
We are shocked and saddened by the news of Mark's untimely death. We not only lost an esteemed colleague, but we also lost an inspiration and a friend. He will be greatly missed, and the legacy he leaves behind in his exemplary body of work will continue to remind us of him for years to come. Mark will be greatly remembered in our lab exploring new hypotheses in brain damage. We will miss his dearly, please give our deepest condolences to his family.
Giulio Maria Pasinetti and Laboratory
Hi buddy, I never expected you to be gone so soon, ripped from your family, colleagues and friends, including those of us at the American Aging Association. You were a great person, champion of aging research. You and your energy and wits will be sorely missed.
I am still can not believe that Mark is no longer with us. What a tragic loss to me and my family -- personally and professionally. Mark was a great friend, 1000% honest, great support to me, and all of us. Mark had no fear to tell the truth (people called him outspoken), but I say he was a truth teller, and inspirer and irreplaceble human being.
My heart-felt support to Mark’s family, particularly his children, Mark showed me his family photograph, on his way back to US from our mitochondrial meeting Hatfield, London, in May. My lab members, my family (he visited my family in 2005) -- I will miss our dear friend, Mark. Every one here Primate Center, West Campus was impressed with his talk that he gave here in 2005.
I pray GOD to give strength to all of us, particularly his family to bear our big loss in this holiday season.
It is with great sadness that I heard of the tragic passing of Mark. We shared a common heritage of being British expats who developed academic careers in the USA. Mark and I also were graduates of Durham University in Northeastern England although I attended this wonderful institution some two decades before Mark. He was a student in Hatfield College and I attended Saint Cuthbert's Society, colleges which were connected by a street that was centuries old and wound by Durham Castle and the incomparable Durham Cathedral. Mark confided in me that his acceptance into Hatfield College was helped by his skills as a football (soccer) player. We often communicated about the successes and failures of the England soccer and cricket teams. Mark had a vibrant personality with no evidence of conceit. He was creative and helpful to others. He certainly helped me a great deal in my own research. We first met at a neuropathology meeting in Salt Lake City in the early 1990s and found we had much in common both scientifically and with British backgrounds. Mark was greatly respected by his students and colleagues and he will be sorely missed.
Mark was a good friend and colleague on the NOMD Study Section. He was highly engaged in life and in science. No food was too spicy. No joke too raunchy. He made a number of seminal observations in AD for which he will be remembered. He and I agreed on many issues in AD, but not on all. But we enjoyed each other’s company and points of view. I found Mark to be open to persuasion, and always willing to hear out another’s opinion. I am saddened for Mark’s family, for what might have been learned in future AD studies, and by the loss of a good friend.
I will never forget Mark. He was a joy to be around and his slightly demented side was wonderful to share. I remember being at a conference in Loughborough UK and going to dinner with him. He stopped outside the pub, thought for a moment and said. “Hmm, I think I remember this pub. I hope they don’t remember me.” They didn’t and we had a great dinner. I will always remember you.>
Mark was a truly unique individual with many wonderful qualities, but most of all I will remember his wit and humor. Time spent with Mark was never dull. Whether it was at a study section meeting or dinner with friends, he was always captivating. Mark's enthusiasm and enjoyment of life was contagious and infected all who knew him. I will miss him greatly. My deepest condolences to Gemma and his family.
I am shocked by the terrible news. We were planning to write an article together with Mark for about a year and I was permanently postponing it because of other commitments – what a pain to realize that it will never be possible to write an article with Mark. My sincere condolences from France – we will miss Mark wherever we are.
-- This news is shocking and heartbreaking. Dr. Smith was an incredibly generous and patient teacher who went out of his way to invest in those of us just beginning our careers. To have someone with such standing in the scientific community take a genuine interest in a young scientist like myself meant a great deal to me. To say he will be missed is insufficient. My prayers go out to his family.
I am truly saddened by the unexpected and untimely death of Mark Smith. He
was a great scientist and contributed so much to the world neuroscience.
The international scientific community will miss him sorely. I am deeply
grateful for what he has done to the Alzheimer’s research field. My
sincere sympathy to family and friends at this most difficult time.
Dear Mark and family,
Mark, I am saddened that you will not hear my thanks to you for starting me on Alzheimer research and giving me confidence from the meager beginning at the ICAD in Philadelphia to the last time I saw you at the Hawaii ICAD this year. You had always encouraging word for every one and we will all miss you dearly. You gave us courage to disagree with prevailing opinion and say "the emperor has no clothes". You legacy is your courage to go forward to find solutions for patients.
If Mark Smith were to have written his own obituary it would have been skeptical of his own contributions to science and Alzheimer's disease research. He was a fearless scientist, who threw down gauntlet after gauntlet to the research community. The fact is that we have lost a giant. In his short life, he published an enormous number of basic facts and observations, mainly about Alzheimer's disease, that have lead him to be one of the most highly-cited researchers in the field. He accomplished this without any care for being fashionable or popular. He was never self-aggrandizing or self-congratulatory. He neither sought prestige nor cared much for accolades. He simply wanted to keep going, plowing through. Indeed, probably the Alzheimer research community has not recognized how important he was to us. I personally found it difficult to write a paper without citing him. But apart from his research, he was also an extraordinarily energetic advocate, organizer and administrator. I was always bewildered by how he had the energy to do all the things he did. His efforts for aging research will be sorely missed, and his editorial posts and reviewing duties were many times the reasonable burden of the average scientist. He was a powerhouse with a rebellious, unquiet mind. His work on oxidative stress and iron in AD was pioneering, and will last the test of time. His vocal iconoclastic views of amyloid, and the mainstream theories of AD, were well-known and ruffled feathers, but he got people to think.
I will miss him as a collaborator and buddy. I will miss him as a scientist who was always available to help, and who extended himself selflessly. I will miss his believe-it-or-not style lectures, booming voice, and sense of humor. I watched him change into a family man over the last ten or so years, and obviously his young family will be devastated most of all. My condolences to his collaborators, friends and to George Perry who is also shattered at losing such a long and fruitful partnership. I think Smith the larrikin would have liked an ale in his honor. To Smith.
I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of Mark's death in your earlier e-mail. And yes, a few tears were shed at this tragic loss!. I had recently met Mark at the ICAD conference in Hawaii. I admired his ability to combine with and humour with his research. I also received wonderful insight from him about my research.
I wish his family, friends and colleagues my sincerest sympathies. And to echo others on the e-mail, he will be remembered for his being a wonderful person as well as for the remarkable legacy he has left in the Alzheimer's disease field!
It is with great sadness receiving the unexpected information about Mark A Smith's sudden
death. His significant impact of the ALzheimer research will be greatly remembered.
I am crushed to hear of this news. I have known Mark for several years. We first met on a VA Merit Review Study Section, where he was a consistent and forceful (and often funny and outrageous) advocate for excellence in science. Since then we have shared exchanges as manuscript reviewers and journal editors; here too Mark was always incisive and on-target. He invited me to visit Cleveland after my 2007 move to Ohio, and I had a wonderful day with him and his outstanding colleagues. We, in turn, had Mark on tap to return the favor and visit us in Toledo next Fall.
This is a profound loss for Case, a profound loss for the Alzheimer community, and a profound loss for the broader Neuroscience community. Mark has taken a little of our shared humanity from us, and reminds us that life is precious. My heartfelt condolences to Gemma, to his children, and to all who knew him.
Mark, I heard you speak, I read your papers, I asked you questions, I knew you and your career mainly through others. From all that I learned that we have lost an inspiring scientist and teacher, a fun and warm person, an always responsive and supportive colleague alway keenly insightful but encouraging as much as he and his work was and will remain an inspiration for us. We will miss you Mark. I hope your children and family who will suffer so much from this tragedy know that the world of science and medicine will be a better place as a result of what you put into your work.
-- We will all miss Mark terribly. He livened up every meeting he attended, was always quick with a smile and witty remark. He will not be forgotten, either for this great contributions to science or as a very warm and compassionate human being who was always a joy to have around. We all wish his lovely family the best during these tough times.
It is with the great sense of shock and sadness that I learnt of the untimely death Mark. He had a unique personality that stood out, with zest for life and science. I first met him some years ego at the American Ageing Society meeting in Boston, which Jim Joseph ( now deceased) had organized. And my first impression of him was that he was pompous , but you could not be indifferent to him as person or his scientific concepts. We were in constant contact through refereeing papers and grants . I specially appreciated our scientific discussions , which could get very heated. But we always ended up basically agreeing with each other, specially on the role of iron in oxidative stress in neurodegenerative disease and anti oxidants. He was always generous with his comments if he agreed with one. My last meeting was when we both participated at ISN meeting in Bussan, Korea . I fondly recall the wonderful discussions we had a about naturally occurring polyphenols and their possible therapeutic role, which both of us were working. He was giant a person and I shall certainly miss him.
Moussa B.H. Youdim
-- Mark was a wonderful scientist whom I admired greatly. He was rare for his unabashed willingness to consider and support ideas that don't always rest comfortably within the conventional orthodoxies of AD research---both in his own research efforts and as an influential editor. There aren't nearly enough folks like him and he will be missed.
With sadness, David Cook
-- I only met Mark once, at an ICAD meeting. His enthusiasm was literally
infectious and has spurred me on more than once since that single meeting.
I was deeply saddened and shocked when I heard the news about Mark's untimely passing. He was a good friend and colleague with a great sense of humor. His passion for arguing that amyloid was not the only factor underlying Alzheimer's disease lead to some very interesting and funny conversations. I remember talking to Mark, during the Chicago ICAD meeting, about the fact that the amyloid vaccine trials were not successful despite the continued insistence that AD was mainly an amyloid disease. Mark said I know the answer: Stealth Amyloid. You can't see, feel or touch it but is it there. Stealth amyloid will forever in my mind keep Mark memory alive. My sincere condolences to his family!
I, like all who knew Mark, am saddened by his passing. He was not only fearless, hardworking and bright, but he had a zest for life that was infectious. Mark was unique as well as pleasantly controversial, and I will surely miss him.
-- Mark was a terrific and influential scientist, and a true inspiration to many in the field. This a terrible loss not only for his family, but to the Alzheimer's Disease field. He will be missed.
M. Paul Murphy
-- The world has lost a brilliant scientist. Our group has lost a true friend and source of great creativity, honesty, and stimulation. We hope his family can find some way to survive his untimely departure. His work has inspired inumerable, bright young scientists. In a sense Mark lives on with the work of people whose lives he has touched!
Wolff M. Kirsch
I still remember the first time I saw Mark at the ICAD a decade ago and the last time I saw Mark at the last ICAD in Hawaii. Mark, I will miss you this coming ICAD! You were a wonderful colleague, a dear friend and always a good supporter. God bless you and your family.
With the terrible death of Mark Smith, I have lost a good friend, as have many others, and the world will miss a great scientist. I knew Mark for over 25 years and developed a respect and friendship rooted perhaps in our common heritage in the North of England. He had a charming accent to go with these origins which communicated an earthy humanity as well as British erudition. What was amazing about Mark was his fierce courage in the face of the dominant ways of thinking about the field in which he worked and his willingness to speak his mind about alternate views. He loved science and did much to promote others in their academic endeavors. I remember (I hope somewhat accurately) him being quoted in the Wall Street Journal accusing the amyloidologists of ethically challenged behavior (to put it politely). At Case I worked with him when he was president of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) to defend faculty and the principle of academic freedom. At our university and hospital we are starting to organize our efforts in Brain Health, and Mark was the one to remind us how much we had accomplished over the last few decades. Before one of our key meetings, I emailed to him one word "behave" to which he responded "always." I meant he should try to be diplomatic with those more set in their ways, but I think I agree with Mark's response . He was always willing to listen but when he disagreed he had pithy force to his utterances which were often accompanied by great wit. He did not tolerate fools terribly well.
Mark was very supportive of our own efforts to challenge the standard view of Alzheimer's. We did not agree about everything but we certainly agreed that Alzheimer's is far more that a single amyloid disease. It is interesting already to see the reactions to Mark's death. Most seem genuine and personal. I will comment more about this once the tragedy settles in our minds and hearts. I for one will honor Mark by helping to push his agenda to open minds and act courageously about the challenges we face as a field and as a world.
Rest in peace Mark. Your spirit will remain a living force in the hearts of many of us.
-- I am so very saddened and shocked at the untimely death of Mark Smith. Those
of us who have known Mark and exchanged information with Mark concerning the
organization American Aging Association (AGE) in his role as Director of AGE
have been so encouraged by his leadership and organizational effort. It is
so sad that this inspirational leader has been lost to us. My heartfelt
sympathy goes to his wife and family. We will all miss him greatly.
Although I only met Mark a few times at the conferences, I did have many e-mail communications with him on various AD research-related discussions and journal-related issues. Mark was not only a dedicated scientist, but also a great mentor, colleague and friend. He will be in the hearts of many of us around the world for many, many years to come...Mark, we will miss you...
Mark was a remarkable person, and he is irreplaceable. There are so many things I loved about him I will always remember, like his ability to take on the entire world without ever losing his sense of humor. I am so glad I was able to have him as a friend. I will miss him terribly.
This news saddens me great, as Mark was one of the few in Alzheimer's disease research who fought the good fight for so many years. He will long be remembered as a champion of alternative explanations for the cause and treatment of this disease. His unique perspective will be missed.
This photo is from the Controversies in Neurology meeting in Barcelona – October 2010. Mark and I chaired this a session on mild cognitive impairment. Being honored to be associated with Mark, and frankly owing my presence there entirely to Mark, I took a photo of the front table where Mark and I sat during the session. I also included a cropped version, which ever is more appropriate. I really don’t know what to think about any of this right now.
At this meeting, Mark debated John Hardy on the amyloid cascade hypothesis. During the course of the debate, Dr. Hardy conceded, rather remarkably, that the amyloid cascade model may not be applicable to sporadic AD, something that Mark of course had contended for many years.
I’m not one to collect photographs but I think I could single handedly write a book on the guy. This photo is from a 2001 meeting in Tobago – Neurodegenerative diseases: Common Molecular mechanisms. The photograph was taken on an elevation over the small bay near the resort. The photo was shot shortly after Mark, Bob (Petersen), and I started off on a Smith-directed island tour – the vehicles in Tobago having steering wheels on the right side, so Mark was a natural. Mark drove us around the island on old roads in bad repair, winding along steep drop-offs in the foothills of the island, passing into and through the rain forest in the upper elevations, all the while smoking a cigarette. I was in the passenger side with white knuckles the entire ride - scared to death. Mark was fearless as usual, and simply enjoying himself. At one point, we were stopped by locals, who told us “if you go that way you will surely die.” Mark of course kept going, although eventually we were forced to turn around when the road turned into a ravine.
Dear Gemma, family and friends of Mark,
I was incredibly shocked to hear the news and I just cannot believe that this is true. Gemma, my heart goes out to you and your sons, to have this happen at this time of year. What an absolute nightmare you must all be going through, it just does not bear thinking about. I am so sorry and sad. I hope you have many good people around you to support you and the boys. I have been thinking about you today, finding it hard to write but I just wanted to write something after hearing this.
It is so hard to believe because Mark was one of those people, like yourself, who was so very much alive and such a vibrant personality. I will never forget his kindness, warmth and generosity. His contribution to our conference here in the Midlands which he knew so well, corresponding with him as Editor for JAD, again meeting you both at the American Aging Association meeting in 2009, it was such fun, so easy to get along with him. I have learned very much from Mark, both scientifically and also from his interactions with people. He was such a great thinker, making very complicated mechanisms seem so easy to understand. Despite all his hard work, his productivity, he was a really good man who always just seemed to take time for people, no matter what else was going on around him or how busy he was. I wish there had been more time to get to know you both better.
If you are ever here in the U.K., please do come and stay with us, the boys will like Nottingham like I am sure Mark did. Hope to see you soon and if there is anything I can ever do for you, please let me know.
My condolences and heartfelt thoughts.
I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Mark Smith whose tragic death has robbed the world of one of the most outspoken and fervent advocates for Alzheimer’s disease research. Mark’s premature death must be a painful loss for his family and friends, and they are in my prayers. I believe that the Alzheimer’s field has lost one of the most articulate and brave advocates in Mark Smith, who was never afraid to challenge views that he thought were either wrong, lacked proper foundation, or that stifled progress. I was fortunate to have published several papers with Mark, and through our collaboration I witnessed his professionalism, scientific rigor, and sharp wit. I believe that it will be our responsibility, even more so now, to bear the torch that Mark has lit and to emulate his passion and advocacy, and ensure that his legacy for pursuing all possible paths in finding the causes and cures for Alzheimer’s disease. Mervyn Monteiro
Sadly, Mark Smith has left this world but his friendship, determination and courage, and his abundant and valuable pieces of work will remain as a determining legate for all of us.
I am afraid and shocked for the terrible news! I don't know if Mark had a family, his wife, his children ... I want to give them my personal and strong southern italian embrace ...In any case Mark leaved another important family that is "our" JAD community......he was important for all of us, we will never forget him...
Amalia C. Bruni
-- Mark was an individual with enormous energy who contributed on many different levels both to his discipline and to the field of neurodegenerative diseases. His loss is going to create a very big hole which will be difficult to fill. The speed at which the news of his death has been conveyed to our colleagues is a clear indication of the high regard with which he is held.
David H. Small
I love Mark. We had so much good time working together on the same NOH study section between 1995-.... One night, we did a lot of damage together to one malt scotch bottle... If there is anything you can think of I (we) that would be helpful to his family or what so ever please let me know. God bless him!
Please accept my condolences, Mark was greatly admired by all of us, he was a dynamo that pushed the field of Alzheimer's Disease pathogenesis to a new level. He will be greatly missed.
-- I started as a grad student with George Perry about the same time that Mark Smith came as a post doc. I still remember when he got antibodies to trypsin and chymotrypsin to get the results for his first paper. I also remember how much he struggled early on but he was a fantastic writer and very creative. Very quickly he turned things around and got paper after paper and more importantly...funding. It was amazing to watch such a meteoric rise. At first I thought he would fizzle, but he had success after success with no letting up. He still had a lot of years ahead of him, and I expected that he would end up as one of the very top Alzheimer's researchers.
This loss is most deeply felt by his family and those who knew him personally, but I think it is a loss to the world to have such a great researcher gone before he could finish his work.
David A. DeWitt
I can't believe this has happened. Mark was just the very best kind of guy and friend--always so hilariously fun and brilliant at the same time. I loved hearing him telling stories about growing up and making it. I think that's what made him always willing to step out and try the next new Wildman idea--the real essence of a true scientist. I will miss him very much!
XO Sue Griffin
I just heard the terrible news about Mark. It is so sudden, so unexpected, a real tragedy! I will really miss his cleverness and his conviction in following unusual but likley true tracks for fighting AD. I do not know his wife personnally but please forward my deepest condoleances to her and children.
I am astonished by this sad news. As a friend and a longtime colleague, please accept and pass my deep condolences to Mark's family. His death
is a great loss of the Alzheimer's Disease research community. He will be greatly missed. May god bless his family!
I had the great honor to know Mark Smith for many years, as a colleague in Alzheimer’s disease research, and as a friend. Mark was remarkable in many ways. He had a gifted intellect, but he also was an extraordinarily independent thinker. He never failed to question cherished assumptions including his own. He was a tireless scientist who always remained devoted to the highest standards of excellence in research and scholarship. Although Mark’s time with us was cut short far too soon, his ideas will long live in the memory and continuing work of his many friends, colleagues, and students.
I was saddened to hear of the premature death of our colleague and friend Mark Smith. My heart goes out to his wife and young children.
Mark's loss will be greatly felt by the Alzheimer's research community. Mark made important contributions to our field, including not only his valuable work as an Editor of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, but also for his seminal research contributions on the effects of oxidative stress, free radicals and mitochondrial abnormalities on the AD neurodegeneration. Mark will also be remembered for his novel suggestions on the role of Abeta peptides on neuronal physiology. He will be greatly missed.
Nikolaos K. Robakis
-- I was really upset to hear of Mark’s tragic death yesterday.
I had debated against him in late October about whether amyloid therapies were the way to go in Alzheimer’s disease. I have debated him 3 times on this topic, and this time, I have to say, even I felt the arguments were finely balanced. We (naturally) went to the bar afterwards to continue the argument, and to discuss other things, including our Christmas plans, his kids and my grandkids and what it was like to be an English exile in the US.
It was, as it always was with Mark, good fun. He had a bizarre passion for Doc Marten’s (expensive English boots historically associated with football hooligans) and I teased him about this, but later sent him a link about a BBC radio programme on them. We parted by saying that, we’d do the next debate in 2 years time... he was sure, that by that time, I would have seen the error of his ways. Sad that, now, we won’t get chance to do this and, of course, terrible that a young husband and father has been lost so soon.
A terrible shame.