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Michael Bruce Smith

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Published in The Washington Post on February 11, 2024

Michael Bruce Smith, on February 4, 2024, of Washington, DC. Beloved husband of Barbara Grazulis Smith; father of Gillian Smith Mullins (John), Douglas Michael Smith (Sarah); grandfather of Keaveny, Reid, Quinn, and Lilla; brother of Eric Smith (Janice) and Andrea Smith. Deeply cherished by his nieces and nephews.

Mike was born in Hartford, Connecticut on August 27, 1946, the son of Ronald and Hildegard Smith. He received his undergraduate degree from Ohio Northern University and Master’s Degree in Education from Boston University. Following college, he enlisted in the United States Navy, was stationed in San Diego, California, and served aboard the USS Jouett during the Vietnam War. After the Navy, he moved to Massachusetts to work in the school system. He spent his summers on Cape Cod enjoying time with his lifelong friends. In 1976 Mike moved to Washington, DC to join The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, which he would go on to lead from 2004 — 2016. His strong belief in higher education and desire for students to have transformative experiences was his life’s work. In recognition of these efforts, which impacted the lives of thousands of students, Mike was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Ohio Northern University in 2010.

Mike cherished spending time with his wife Barbara and his family. He was especially proud of his children, Gillian and Douglas, his son-in-law, John, and daughter-in-law Sarah. Mike’s (Papa’s) greatest joy was spending time with his grandchildren. Whether on the Cape or the Chesapeake Bay, Mike was happiest on the water with those he loved.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Compassionate Care ALS (

A Celebration of Life will be held on February 22, 2024. For more information, please visit