Green Party of California

Green Party of California co-founder Kent Smith dies in Nevada City; Greens mourn his loss


NEVADA CITY, Ca. - Kent Smith, one of the founders of the Green Party of California, has died - and as is fitting his legacy, a major peace protest will be held at the same time as a celebration of his life on Sunday, March 16, according to family and friends.

Mr. Smith, who was 66 when he passed away at his home Feb. 18, is recognized as one of the founders of the Green Party of California. He attended the first state meeting of Greens in Fresno in 1989 with about two dozen others, and was one of the organizers of a meeting in Sacramento in 1990 where Greens decided to found the official Green Party of California.

In 1992, after more than 100,000 people were registered to the fledgling party, Mr. Smith accepted the state-sealed declaration from Sec. of State March Fong Eu for the Green Party. He ran for state and U.S. Senate in the early 1990's, garnering tens of thousands of votes. Mr. Smith also played a key role in the first Planetary Meeting of Greens in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and helped create the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas.

Born on June 16, 1941 in San Jose, Mr. Smith received a Bachelor's Degree from Stanford University, and a Master's and Ph.D from University of California, Berkeley. He was a professor at several universities for 20 years, teaching history, international relations and marketing/management. In 1988 he moved to Nevada County, and built his own "Walden" cabin.

As a graduate student, Mr. Smith was a leading organizer of non-violent resistance to the Vietnam War and dedicated activist in the Civil Right Movement. He served as Field Secretary of the War Resisters League. One of his last political efforts was organizing Americans for Constitutional Integrity, a group dedicated to the Impeachment of President George W. Bush.

"Kent could command the room with his powerful, statesman's voice, confident style and well-worded reasoning. He had a big, warm laugh, twinkling blue eyes and a genuine smile. He enjoyed joking, dancing and was witty in political debate. I was so grateful for his efforts building the Green Party," said Beth Moore, a longtime Green Party activist and friend.

Mr. Smith is survived by his life partner, Lynn Ely; daughters Micaela and Gabrielle, and six grandchildren, who knew him affectionately as "Grandpa Moustache."

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, March 16 at 2 p.m. at the Nevada City Memorial Building, 415 N. Pine St. Nevada City. Not too coincidentally, a Peace Rally and March will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. in Nevada City, marking hundreds of rallies around the world demanding an end to the Iraq War.


Dr. Bob Vizzard (Sacramento), 916.206.8953,
Susan King (San Francisco), 415.823.5524,
Crescenzo Vellucci, Press Secretary, 916.996.1970,

The Green Party of California
PO Box 2828
Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437