2013-12-12 / Front Page

Dr. Smith funeral set for Saturday, Dec. 21

Dr. Phillip Smith, who built Mariposa County High School's band into a nationally-recognized program, passed away on Dec. 11. A public funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21 at the town cemetery off Joe Howard Street.

A public celebration of Smith’s life, including music, is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23 in Fiester Auditorium at the local high school.

Smith served in the U.S. military in Vietnam before starting a distinguished career at the high school. He composed multiple pieces of music and shepherded the band to a starring role in the 2011 New York City Veterans Day Parade.

Read the Thursday, Dec. 19 GAZETTE for more on Smith's life and career and the gap he leaves in the community.


Dr. Phil Smith proudly led the high school band at 2012 Veterans Day observance at Mariposa Elementary School. He attended again this past November. Erik Skindrud/The GAZETTEDr. Phil Smith proudly led the high school band at 2012 Veterans Day observance at Mariposa Elementary School. He attended again this past November. Erik Skindrud/The GAZETTE

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Doctor Smith's each and every

Doctor Smith's each and every action was for betterment of our world. From every song he wrote to his military service, he thought only of all of us. He opened his heart to allow everyone into his family. And, we share his wife and sons' loss. Doctor Smith touched each of us through his example, advice, charity and counsel. It's a common expression to say "he touched us" but I submit it is the most succinct rendering of his life's work. No matter the difficulties, he planned for tomorrow. No matter what pain he felt, he always started a conversation with "Hello. my friend" and ended it with "I'll see you later, my friend". It speaks of the Man's nature that he was teaching music just the other day. Although, I am so sad I can hardly write this, I remember the days past with Doctor Smith leading the way. And, I pray that this short note does justice to him.

For 18 years Dr. Smith

For 18 years Dr. Smith volunteered his time to developing a premier high school band. Most of those years, he also brought his MCHS Band to Mariposa Elementary School for the annual Veterans' Day Ceremony. Kindergartners heard his students play and wanted to grow up to be in the MCHS Band. Veterans heard their branch music and stood, saluted, and received the applause of the community present. We will never forget this wonderful, patriotic, devoted man.

This is an extremely sad

This is an extremely sad moment for Mariposa, and America. This man was a true hero in every way. This is a huge loss and Dr. Smith will be celebrated for decades to come. Men like him are rare, and sadly becoming even rarer with each passing day. God Bless you, SIR. God Bless you!

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