Simon Smith: Always in our Hearts

Simon Smith: A Celebration of Life
Posted on 11/20/2018
This is the image for the news article titled Simon Smith: A Celebration of LifeSimon Smith, a senior instructional aide at SRHS, passed away mid-November. He is deeply missed by the staff, students, and families he impacted. 

Join us Thursday, Nov. 29, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at SRHS to help celebrate the life of our beloved teacher, mentor, colleague, coach, and friend.

A potluck will follow; please bring a disposable container for leftovers.

Questions? Call SRHS at 480-362-2000.

11/13: A Letter from Dr. Laffitte

Dear Salt River Schools Family,

It is with great sadness that I write this letter to inform you of a significant loss at our schools. Division leaders were informed today by the family of Simon Smith that he passed away over the weekend.

Mr. Smith was a beloved instructional aide, cultural mentor, athletic coach, colleague, and friend. The loss of Mr. Smith is felt deeply throughout our schools by students and staff and everyone who knew him.

Brian Mabb, the principal of Salt River High School where Mr. Smith worked as a senior instructional aide, passed along a message from Mr. Smith’s family to students at an assembly this morning:

“He would want each of his students to know you were the most important thing to him, that he loved teaching and loved working with young people,” the family’s message stated.

“You were the reason he went back to college, so he could continue working with you to the best of his ability. Mr. Smith wouldn’t want you to lose focus. He’d want you to finish strong in all your endeavors," the message continued. "You can honor him and his memory by pursuing your education and he will live on through you in that way. That is the path he worked so hard to set each of you on.”

Mr. Smith began working for Salt River Schools in 2001. He taught junior high social studies until 2005, when he became a senior instructional aide. During his career here, he was influential in sharing Native languages, cultural lessons, and teaching young people to sing and drum.

Additionally, Mr. Smith worked every summer in classrooms and assisted with staff professional development. He could also be counted on to help students catch up in Saturday School and during fall and spring breaks.

Mr. Smith’s dedication to athletics will also be missed. He coached sports throughout the school year, including cross country, wrestling and baseball. Brandon Tauscher, the Division’s athletic director, said Mr. Smith was the longest-standing coach in the school’s history.

“He was foundational in every aspect,” Mr. Tauscher said of Mr. Smith’s legacy. “He did some pretty cool things regarding leadership and infusing culture with everything. Before games, especially when we traveled, he would sing to us or send us off with a prayer. He’s going to be missed tremendously.”

No immediate information was available regarding services for Mr. Smith; however, his family asked that messages be mailed to: The Family of Simon Smith | PO Box 373 | Parker, AZ 85344

I know there are still many unanswered questions and I hope you will join me in respecting Mr. Smith’s family and their privacy as they navigate through this sorrowful time.

We know many students and staff are struggling with this loss. Please know there are caring counselors available at every school site, as well as a centralized crisis response team at Salt River High School open to all Division staff and students, if needed. If you need more information or assistance regarding crisis counseling during this time, please reach out to Vicky Corlett at 480-362-2573.

My thoughts are with you all now and always. Remember: We will do this together.


Dr. Louis Laffitte, Jr.

Update 11/15 from Mr. Smith's family: These services are open to the public. Salt River High School students have created memorial posters that will be delivered to the his family.
Funeral Services for Simon Smith, son of Donald and Edith Smith. Saturday, November 17 (Rosary and viewing at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church); Sunday, November 18 (viewing 5 p.m. to midnight at Cry House); and Monday, November 19 (Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church). Sacred Heart Church is located at 1101 Joshua Avenue in Parker, Arizona.
Funeral Services for Simon Smith
Son of Donald and Edith Smith

  • Saturday, November 17 (Rosary and viewing at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church)
  • Sunday, November 18 (viewing 5 p.m. to midnight at Cry House)
  • Monday, November 19 (Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church)

Sacred Heart Church is located at 1101 Joshua Avenue in Parker, Arizona.

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