Greg Smith was a son of the South and a man of the world. After a brief illness, he died on March 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA from complications of lung cancer. He was only 65.
Greg was born in DC but considered Raleigh, NC "home". From an early age he was drawn to the theater through summers with Children's Theater at Wiley School and later WRAL and Raleigh Little Theater productions. At Broughton (Class of '68), he participated in Little Theater, the cast of "Carousel" and sang tenor in the Vocal Ensemble. After Broughton he thrived in the theater department at East Carolina University and performed in "The Lost Colony" and spent two summers on the lighting crew of The Santa Fe Opera before beginning a career as an Equity Stage Manager.
He worked Off-Broadway and at the Papermill Playhouse, later stage managing national road tours, including "Six Degrees of Separation" with Marlo Thomas, "The Radio City Sixtieth Anniversary Spectacular" with The Rockettes, and "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God" -- beginning a backstage friendship on "Box" with Kyria Krezel that turned into a far longer run.
He was a consummate professional who never missed a cue -- either in a production or in life. Few friends are without a favorite Gregory anecdote. His wit was as dry as a perfect martini. Known for keeping his cool -- if the sky fell, he caught it!
In 1987, Greg joined Disneyland as a Live Event Stage Manager -- eventually becoming Producer for Live Entertainment. His hundreds of show credits include other notable events: the opening of Disney's California Adventure, Elizabeth Taylor's 60th Birthday Party and Rose Parade floats. When the infamous JR took the Broughton Marching Band to the Rose Parade twice in the last few years, Greg played Proud Papa, "Look at them! That's MY school!" He was a beloved member of the Disney team for almost 30 years.
In his off hours, Greg played guitar and loved music -- everything from bluegrass to opera. He had a great eye for antiques -- especially pottery and was, in fact, a potter himself. He'd totally lose himself working in wet clay. Regardless of the fickle SoCal weather, he happily took his two canine children for long walks. Greg fed his keen mind by reading voraciously. His life was like the final chapter of a good book that's finished far too soon.
Greg is survived by his wife of 35 years, Kyria Debra Krezel. He was a cherished member of the Krezel family from the very beginning. His brother and sister-in-law, Bryan and Jackie Smith and their children of Maryland and NC, survive him, along with numerous extended family and friends joined by love if not by blood. He never lost interest in his "home" friends from Daniels Jr. High (his favorite teacher, Louise Todd Taylor) and Broughton -- especially Walton, Ben (The Guitar Man), Jude, Beetle, and his dear Jennie.
Among his plans for his imminent retirement was a relocation to his roots in North Carolina, where he wouldn't have to explain to anyone the joys of country ham, Geechee grits and pimiento cheese.
In his memory, donations can be made to Gregory's two favorite charities: Heifer International or a micro loan to Kiva.com. He would also be honored if you read a little poetry or hummed a few bars of any Bob Dylan song.