Tony Smith is being remembered this week as a teacher, an artist, a musician, and a humanitarian.

Tony Smith is being remembered this week as a teacher, an artist, a musician, and a humanitarian.

But mostly he is being remembered as a loving son, brother and nephew to some of Worthington's most notable educators.

Gary Anthony "Tony" Smith died June 17 when a car struck his motorcycle on a New York street. He was on his way to the airport to pick up his sister, Katharine.

The two planned to vacation in Vermont before meeting the rest of the family over the weekend for a wedding in Massachusetts.

Smith was the son of Nicole Gnezda, retired art teacher with the Worthington schools, and the late Gary Smith.

Gary died of cancer ten years ago. He was a much admired Worthington teacher.

Each year, thousands turn out to walk and run in the Gary Smith Classic. Money raised supports the Gary Smith Compassionate Teaching award, given each year to a deserving Worthington teacher.

Like his father, Tony was a teacher. Like his father, he taught high school English to students with special learning needs. Like his father, he coached track and cross country.

Tony most recently taught at the Jemicy School, a school for special needs students located outside of Baltimore, where he lived.

At the final staff meeting of the year, Tony requested that the most challenging students be assigned to him next year.

That was the kind of legacy left by his father, who was known to reach out to students who were not being reached by traditional methods.

In fact, the wedding the family planned to attend was that of Missy Novak, a former student of Gary's who lived with the Smith family for several years.

Nicole said she was able to watch Tony teach last fall. His students performed Kafka's Metamorphosis, remembering each line. Tony followed up with a vocabulary lesson.

"He owned the attention of every one of those kids," Nicole said.

She also got to see an exhibit of Tony's artwork in a Baltimore gallery. He made musical instruments out of "found objects," an art form that he created as a child growing up in Worthington.

Tony was a creative, curious child who would spend hours working on inventions and wandering about the community, which sometimes worried his parents.

"He had this desire to know the world and not let himself be bound in," Nicole said.

He attended Thomas Worthington High School, but spent most of his hours as a student of the Christopher Program, a county-wide alternative, experiential school.

He graduated in 1997, then went on to Grinnell College in Iowa, where he earned a degree in philosophy and music composition.

After college, he traveled the country, working the corn fields in Iowa and "maple sugaring" in Vermont.

He also worked as a substitute teacher in Indianola, Miss., where he encountered underprivileged children and decided to become a teacher.

Four years ago, he accepted a job with the Lab School in Baltimore, which also specializes in innovative teaching methods to reach students with special learning needs. Two years ago, he took the job at Jemicy.

Tony had recently rehabbed a row house in downtown Baltimore, where he liked to live among the people and was known to give a helping hand to those who lived on the streets.

"He was a most unique person," his mother said. "Part of the tragedy is that he can't give all that to the world anymore."

Besides Katharine, who lives in Seattle, he is survived by another sister, Yvonne Smith, of Chicago; stepfather, John Snouffer; grandmother, Mary Winter; step grandfather, Chester Winter; uncle, Eric Gnezda; aunt, Vicki Gnezda; aunt, Therese Gnezda, and many other friends and relatives.

A service was held Wednesday at Rutherford-Corbin Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that people donate their time to those in need.