BOWLING GREEN — Dale W. Smith, 75, of Bowling Green, Ohio passed away September 10, 2023. He was born May 9, 1948, and grew up in the small village of Ames, New York, son of George W. and Florence (Wessels) Smith, who preceded him in death. He graduated from Canajoharie High School in 1966 as valedictorian of his class and was inducted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 2018. He graduated from Colgate University in 1970 and earned his Ph.D. in astronomy in 1978 at the University of Washington, Seattle, with a dissertation on dust in the atmosphere of the planet Jupiter.
After serving brief terms on the faculties of Bellevue Community College, Western Washington University, and Colgate University, he came to Bowling Green State University in 1983, where he served as Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Planetarium Director. At the Planetarium, he delivered educational multimedia programs to the general public and to area school groups, and created many of these programs himself. He oversaw an extensive renovation of the Planetarium in 2013 and 2014 with the installation of a state-of-the-art fulldome video system. In 2016 he was named Professor of Service Excellence at BGSU.
He was active in professional planetarium societies and served as President of both the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (1990-1994) and the International Planetarium Society (1999-2000). In these organizations, he served as editor of annual conference proceedings and editor of a worldwide directory of planetariums, among other roles. He was given the highest award of each society: GLPA’s Galileo Award and IPS’s Service Award.
Dale enjoyed traveling and visited more than 60 countries and all US States, Canadian provinces, and states of Australia. In 2000-2001 he set foot on all seven continents in the span of one year. On his travels he took more than 200,000 photos, including both slides and digital images. Besides photography, his hobbies included collecting books and international and old US currency.
He was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, where he ran the sanctuary sound system for over thirty years and also served as church photographer.
At his request, there will be no services or public viewing. His ashes will be placed in the Ames, NY cemetery next to his parents. He is survived by numerous cousins and by many friends around the world. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Dunn Funeral Home in Bowling Green.
To share an online condolence or fond memory please visit www.dunnfuneralhome.com.