Once more it is a real pleasure for me to speak of the goodness of a Calvert citizen that has devoted a lifetime to the care and nurturing of others within the community in which we live! Guffrie Smith is loved by all who know him as he is a man of humility known for his gentle ways of dealing with people and for the respect he shows for everyone he meets. For me he is a “class act” and really just one of the nicest people you are ever going to meet. In describing Guffrie, words come easy, but they are heartfelt as he is genuine and real. He is the type of person all of our mothers wished we could grow up to be like him! Friends, he is the epitome of a gentleman, and anyone that knows him would say the same!
This man has an interesting story about families and the importance of caring for each other. Guffrie is the oldest of 17 children born to sharecroppers in Scotland, Maryland, not far from Point Lookout. He is the oldest of 5 boys and has 12 sisters. In a family of this size I know the older kids played a big part in taking care of the younger siblings and greatly assisted their parents to help raise and teach the ones that followed. Friends have told me they really did not have a huge home, but there was more than enough love to go around!!!
He credits his dad as the major influence on him as he was growing up due to his continual involvement in helping others. He took neighbors to church and doctors’ appointments. He provided wood and other necessities for survival to people less fortunate then himself. He often transported youth and others to sporting activities. When he was unable to do these chores or favors, he turned over this work to Guffrie. He believes this was his father’s legacy for him, as the oldest, to continue. And he has been devoted to this type of assistance for others all his life as well. He says “you name it and he has done it!”
Guffrie was the first in his family to graduate from a four year college, earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Bowie State College. He returned to Bowie to gain a Master’s in Elementary Administration and Supervision. I have mistakenly referred to him as “Doc” or “Doctor” in the past; he corrected me recently and told me he has 60 hours of credit towards his doctorate at NOVA University, but he is getting close to finishing,
I first met Guffrie when he was my son’s Principal at Appeal Elementary in Lusby in the mid nineteen eighties. Prior to becoming Principal, he taught 4th and 5th grade students for 7 years at Appeal. My memories of meeting him back then was that he had a great smile, was very congenial with everyone and why didn’t I have a great principal like him when I was my son’s age [oh that’s right, I had a Mother Superior!]. He was well liked by the students and their parents. I remember being somewhat disappointed when he moved up to an administrative position with the Calvert County Public Schools prior to my youngest daughter starting kindergarten at Appeal. His training prepared him for tutorial programs, cultural awareness effective planning strategies, equity issues in the schools, combatting substance abuse, and mentoring and helping students to be successful in school. He is a very well respected Educator in what has been the best Public School System in Maryland for the past decade. He has an awesome record and a great reputation for his leadership example in many roles within our school administration during a brilliant 34 year career.
He did a six and half year stint with the Maryland State Department of Education after 11 years with Calvert County schools, but fortunately he returned in 1981 and completed an additional 23 years within our school system. Further, throughout his career, Guffrie has served on many regional and statewide boards and committees, including the State’s Professional Standards the Teacher Education Board, and the Social Studies writing curriculum to mention a few.
His education credentials are superb, but it’s his prolific community service that I find so impressive! He has devoted considerable time and effort to the Calvert Collaborative for Children and Youth and is currently serving as its President. He is pursuing the establishment of a community center within the Prince Frederick town center. Recently the Calvert Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of the old SMECO building on Dares Beach Road intended for this very purpose. However, he tells me we need to rally the community’s support by voicing their approval at an upcoming hearing that is to be scheduled. He asks that we watch for the announcement!
Other local involvement includes membership in the Kiwanis Club, Calvert County Historical Society, Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse, Christmas in April, and the Old Walville School Restoration Committee. He has served on a local bank board. In 2003, he was honored as King of Calvert’s United Way Mardi Gras. The Maryland State Teacher’s Association granted him with their Martin Luther King Community Award and in 2009 he received the Louis Goldstein Award from the Calvert Democratic Central Committee. There just isn’t enough room to discuss all of his feats and achievements for his volunteer work.
Guffrie’s wife of 51 years, his two daughters and his grandchildren support him and join in many of these efforts. He leads by example for he tells me “if you roll up your sleeves and start a project with the right motives in mind, you will have others join you”. He adds, “I would encourage and challenge all of us to be sensitive to the needs of those in our community and to take positive steps to meet these needs with our time, talents, abilities, and/or financial support”.
Well said sir! And well done! Guffrie you are a remarkable individual! You have set a really high bar for the younger generations to match. Thank you for your many contributions! And thank you for always being the class gentleman I have known you to be!
[A quick side bar – I know several of the Smith siblings and they all are successful in their own right. His younger brother “Tubby” coached the University of Kentucky Wildcats Basketball team to the NCAA National Championship in the 90’s!]
Dave Spigler resides in Lusby and has been a resident of Calvert County since 1979. He has been recognized many times for his years of community service. He received the “Calvert You Are Beautiful Award” for 2013 and recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the “Maryland Citizen of the Year” in 2011. He was a member of the HOGETTES, the Washington Redskins “Biggest Fans” for 22 years. If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.