Search site



Obituary: James Anthony (Tony) Smith - full obituary

Very sadly, Mr James Anthony (Tony) Smith, former Lecturer in the Department of Textile Industries and until recently Education/Access Officer for the University of Leeds International Textiles Archive (ULITA), died on 23 April 2008.

Tony Smith was employed by a textile company in Leeds as a design technologist before coming to the University in 1970 to take up a place on the BA Textile Design programme. Graduating with a First in 1973, he was appointed to a senior design position with Coats-Viyella plc in Manchester before returning to Leeds in 1976 as Lecturer. Coupled with his gift for clarity of exposition, his wealth of expertise in textile design, particularly knitted textile design and technology, made him an outstanding teacher. His courses were extremely popular with students, and proved the springboard for many flourishing careers. He was also a most successful admissions tutor, overseeing a steady rise in the number and calibre of applicants, both academically and artistically. One measure of his success was how often his students featured as prize-winners in national fabric design competitions. His alertness to the latest technological advances ensured that students were able to gain invaluable experience of new computer aided design systems, for which he himself developed a number of software applications.

A strong advocate of continuing professional education, Tony Smith was intensively engaged in organising courses and conferences for companies and teachers, building up a network of relationships with schools and colleges throughout the UK in the process. As a gifted and creative designer himself, he also undertook a number of external commissions to produce a wide range of machine knitted fabric designs for clothing and wall coverings.

Tony Smith gave up his lectureship in 1992 to pursue a career as a self-employed educational consultant. This was to bring him back into contact with his former department when he collaborated on the design and development of new computer-based learning technologies. Mr Smith returned to the University on a full-time basis in 2003, as Education/Access Officer for ULITA. He achieved considerable success in this role, providing a wide variety of educational programmes for schools, colleges, HE institutions and community groups, and managing the development of new educational resources for the ULITA website.

Tony Smith is survived by his wife, Gill, daughters Rachel and Victoria, and two grandsons.

The funeral is taking place at Dewsbury Crematorium at 11 am on 30 April, when the flag in being flown at half-mast on the Parkinson Building in Tony Smiths memory.

Published: 25 April 2008