Who is A.E. (Ted) Smith?
Walking historian and encyclopedia of all things Highlands. Golf fanatic. Stained glass artist. Photographer. Community booster. Family man. Great neighbour.
Ted is all of these things and more.
Ted was born in Peace River and in his youth he moved all over Alberta, as his father was an Anglican minister. He moved to Vancouver for high school and then returned to Edmonton to study photography at NAIT. Upon graduation in 1968 Ted worked for three years for the Edmonton Separate School Board looking after audiovisual equipment and producing instructional materials for the district.
He then got a job at Sharps Audiovisual as a traveling salesman, covering Northern Saskatchewan, Northern Alberta and Northern BC. When a position opened at the Royal Alberta Museum to look after the front end, photography and audiovisual, Ted began his 27 year career there.
After retirement from the museum Ted enjoyed four years as concierge at the Coast Plaza Hotel.
Stained Glass, Photography, Golf
Ted has worked in stained glass since the mid-1970s, as an artist and as a teacher. Since his retirement, he has completed stained glass commissions with pieces in collections locally, provincially and nationally. Some of his outstanding glass work is found in the Highlands area in venues such as the 60th anniversary “Four Seasons” windows displayed above Virginia Park School’s front entrance, the 100th anniversary windows installed above the entrance at Highlands United Church, and the stained glass above the front entrance of the Gibbard Block. Many more pieces are found in the homes and gardens of neighbours and family and friends, near and far (as far away as Arizona!). Ted has contributed greatly to fund-raising events, donating stained glass works of art for raffles and silent and live auctions at schools, Highlands golf course, Keiskamma Canada, and for other charitable causes.
Ted says that his interest in photography began in high school when a very supportive art teacher encouraged him to develop his photography skills. Since his retirement Ted has continued to share his skills photographing community events.
Golf is Ted’s passion. He joined the Highlands Golf Club in 1995. In 2004 he was president during their 75th anniversary celebrations. Ted received a service designation from the Highlands in 2017 for helping to establish the Highlands Memorial Tree program, and for being instrumental in the creation of both Henry Martell and Betty Stanhope Cole Parks. Ted is the unofficial “photographer in residence” at Highlands Golf Course, taking yearly photos for the staff display wall, and always making time to take photos at tournaments and special events for the club newsletter. He often has his camera with him during a round to photograph the amazing scenery he enjoys sharing with others.
Ted continues to golf five times a week, and is known by all Highlands golfers for his friendly and welcoming manner.
Highlands Historical Society
In 1988 Ernst Eder and Ted decided that they wanted to raise the profile of their beloved Highlands community and to promote pride in its unique history and beauty. An organizational meeting of community members was held at La Boheme restaurant, and the Highlands Historical Foundation was born. The Foundation’s objective was to enjoy and celebrate the past and present of the community, and to take steps to ensure the area’s vitality and future prosperity.
Some early board members included: Ken Smith (president), Sandra Storey (archivist), Nancy Power (treasurer), Dave Cooper (newsletter editor), Anita Jenkins (newsletter article writer), Elwood Johnson, Doug Noyce, Chris Campbell, Marcella Gibbs, Ernst Eder and, of course, Ted Smith.
This first board organized a Festival of Lights, Festival of Flowers Garden Tour, walking tours, barbeques, and of course the first print newsletter published in Winter 1989. After the first newsletter was distributed door-to-door, 55 people became members of the Foundation.
Although Ted is no longer a Highlands Historical Society board member, he continues his support by freely sharing his in-depth knowledge of our community and supports all its events. He is currently one of the Highlands Walking Tour booklet distributors. From a box on his front side walk he has distributed over 900 booklets since the beginning of the pandemic, and he frequently stops to chat with passers-by to share his love of Highlands. He even carries a supply of Walking Tour booklets in his car and in his golf bag!
In 2002 Ted was presented with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal by Lieutenant Governor Lois Hole for his extensive work for the Highlands Historical Foundation (now Society).
In 2005 Ted was chosen as one of the One Hundred Centennial Ambassadors for the Province of Alberta for his work organizing and putting on events to celebrate Alberta’s centenary. Special gold medals were minted to present to those Canadians who had reached 100 years of age. This was a particularly special occasion for Ted who was able to present a Centennial Medal to his mother who was 102 years of age.
Ted was also presented with an Alberta Centennial Medal by the 16th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Normie Kwong, for providing outstanding service to the people and province of Alberta through the Ambassador program.
Ted and his wife Pauline have two children, Sarah (Chris) and Jeff (Jenice), and four grandchildren, Jasper, Norah, Lillyana and Lincoln.
Ted credits his parents with his sense of community involvement. They taught him that a member or resident’s extra effort can make a club or community a vibrant and worthwhile place to be. One might never have the opportunity to do that one big thing for humanity but each of us, every day, could do that one little thing that might make a difference in someone’s life. Ted has indeed made a difference to the daily lives of all of us in the Highlands!
We thank you, Ted.