Danny Smith Passes

My good friend Danny Smith passed away on Thursday, December 23. I don't know the exact cause but he's been dealing with health problems associated with Hepatitis C for a couple of years now.

I was friends with Danny for 36 years. We had a LOT of good times together. He was like a brother to me. In fact, a couple of times people asked us if we were brothers. I am absolutely devastated to lose such a good friend. Someday I might write a long, in-depth story on our friendship and adventures, but for right now I wanted to get out this shorter tribute that touches on the highlights of our times together.

I met Danny at his brother's wedding. A girl I knew from high school asked me to go with her. Right away I learned this guy was someone who knew how to have a good time. He went to the same high school as me. What first solidified our friendship was a common interest in certain recreational activities that were popular in the 1970's.

Danny Smith
Danny graduated a year ahead of me but in December 1975 we shared an apartment near the campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus. I got a job working construction and he was just beginning to learn what would be his life long trade, carpentry. By February 1976 I convinced him to hitchhike to California with me.

Danny found a guy who was moving to Arizona and needed his extra car driven along. It would be Danny and I , but he also had this German Shepard mix dog named "Bear". So me and Danny and this dog followed this guy and his wife all the way to Tucson, Arizona. They drive a van while we followed along in a Mustang II. We also ended up spending time in San Diego, Tijuana, Mexico, and Las Vegas before finally heading back to Ohio. We spend a little over two months on the road, having a blast everywhere we went.

After we returned I ended up going back to school and Danny got a job but we always remained close friends. A lot of people don't know that Danny spent at least a half a year attending Ohio State University. I was at a party one winter night around 1981-82 when Danny met Diane. She would later give birth to Danny's son, Aaron.

During the years Danny lived in Arizona we weren't as close but we did talk on the phone when we could. By 1986 Danny was living in Florida and I came to visit during Spring Break. We had a great time. Two years later I graduated. I was going to go to California but my friend Steve couldn't put me up. I called Danny and he said sure come on down to Florida, so I did.

He was kind enough to put me up while I got a job and a place to live. Because he was adopted he would put anyone up for however long they needed it. He was like that. By 1989 both our lives had changed so much that we would never be as close as we had been. He had his life as a carpenter and a whole different circle of friends. I was just starting out in a career as a writer. We remained friends through out the years. I was honored to be the photographer at his wedding to Monica.

When he first told me about his Hepatitis infection I really thought he would beat it, either with drugs or he would get a new liver. He said the drugs made him too sick to even stand up and apparently he was not rich or famous enough to get a liver transplant. And so he passed on.

Danny Smith was such a shining star. He was kind, generous, and when he was around everyone was guaranteed to have a great time. A time they wouldn't forget. There's a hole in my life now. All I can say is I hope that we see each other again some day. And then the good times will live again