In Memory of Kenneth Wayne Smith
Kenneth Wayne Smith, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, died on Thursday, November 27th, 2014 at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, due to complications from cancer. He was 63.
Smith skipped his senior year at Allegany High School, in Cumberland, MD, to begin college at Knox College, in Galesburg, Ill. in 1969. He graduated from Knox College with a B.A. in Mathematics in 1972. It was at Knox that he became an adherent of Science of Spirituality, an eastern philosophy which led him to become a vegetarian for the rest of his life. It was also at Knox that he met and married Diane Berquist, who became his wife in 1971. In 1974, he earned an M.A. in Actuarial Mathematics from the University of Michigan.
He began his career as an actuary with League Life Insurance Co. in Southfield, Michigan in 1974. In 1979, he became a Member of the Society of Actuaries, during his time with Continental American Life Insurance, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Smith also had an intense interest in computers, a nearly completed masters in that field and worked briefly for ICI America, Inc. in the information technology department in Wilmington, Delaware. Knowing Smith’s expertise with computers, Bruce Baker reached out to him, giving him the opportunity and honor of helping to be instrumental in the development of a prototype for Minspeak, a semantic compaction system used in devices designed to facilitate communication for people who cannot otherwise do so. Ultimately, though, Smith spent most of his working life as an actuary for American International Group (AIG).
Smith began his career at AIG in 1985 as a budding valuation actuary in AIG's US businesses. In 1986, he earned his Fellowship of the Society of Actuaries. Starting in 1990, he moved through the ranks of AIG's international businesses (ALICO and AIG Star & Edison), which included businesses in Japan, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, to become the Chief Actuary of ALICO, a position he held at the time of the sale of ALICO to MetLife in 2010. He rejoined AIG in 2012 to lead the actuarial function for its international life and accident and health businesses: he was AIG's Chief Actuary for International Life and Accident & Health.
He was well known and deeply respected by hundreds of actuaries all over the world who have been mentored and coached by him throughout his career. He challenged his colleagues to think through everything they did; his professionalism, rigor, passion, enthusiasm and curiosity will be deeply missed.
In his private life, he was an accomplished organist, playing organ for two different churches before he turned 16 as well as an adult. His son, Aron has fond memories turning the pages of music at the organ for his dad, trying his best to keep up with the music and turn the page at the right time. In recent years, Ken had revived his interest in the organ, taking lessons at 1st and Central Presbyterian Church. Together with Chuck Von Fange, he assembled a synthesized pipe organ in his basement, which he played for the sheer joy of it.
He enjoyed running marathons for the challenge of it and for the euphoria and the sense of accomplishment it brought him: from 1990 to 2013 he completed ten (10) marathons, including seven (7) Marine Corps marathons. He also enjoyed cycling with his family: he completed the Hotter 'N Hell Hundred Endurance Ride twice with various family members, and rode in RAGBRAI, a week-long bicycle ride across Iowa, with his brother Terry in 2012.
He is survived by his wife Diane Smith of Chadd's Ford, PA; his son Aron Smith and grandson Glenn of Wilmington, DE; his son Kevin (Terri) Smith of Annapolis, MD; his mother Muriel Smith of Kensington, MD; his brother Terry (Gail) Smith of Cedar Rapids, IA; his sister Karen (Victor) Smith and nieces Elizabeth, Catherine, and Margaret Giddings of Kensington, MD; his sister Brenda (Bob) Damario, niece Sarah Damario and nephew Nicholas Damario of Owings, MD; and a large extended family.
Donations may be made in his name to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, PCRM.org, 5100 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20016. Alternatively, please feel free to donate to any charity that is meaningful to you.