March 15, 1956 – July 5, 1995
My husband, David Smithka, died quite suddenly of a pulmonary embolism. He was only 39. We had previously discussed organ donation and always knew it would be the right thing to do. In fact, I broached it with the medical staff at the hospital before they did. I am sorry the nature of his death prevented some of his organs from being used. I have a friend who received a heart transplant at age 27 after a rare virus destroyed his own heart, so I have first hand experience with what a transplant can mean to the recipient.
David was a rare person, quiet at some times and loud at others, but always perceptive of situations and people. He studied philosophy at St. John's College in Annapolis and received a Master's Degree in Russian Area Studies from Georgetown University. His first loves were acting and writing and he tried his hand at both. He directed and acted in a number of plays while in college and has a screen credit as a carpenter for the movie cult classic, "Beastmaster." He was a raconteur who knew how to turn an ordinary event into a story worth listening to. He perfected his Russian language skills during a stint in the Army which stationed him in Germany. While there, he also worked on photography. Our home is filled with beautiful pictures of castles and scenes from his time there. David's final job was as a Russian specialist for a U.S.-Russian company which provided security consulting for clients all over the world. Although his job kept him busy, he would relax at home by translating classic Russian works such as poems by Pushkin.
The picture of David on the quilt was taken by me during perhaps the most wonderful time of my life. David was stationed in Germany and I went to visit him. We took a trip to Berchtesgarten, a small town in the Alps, and it was there we decided to get married. David really wanted children. He was the father of two girls who were only 5 and 2 when he died. I want them to know that even in his death, David contributed part of himself to the world. We miss him terribly.