Obituary: Dr. Dustin Arthur Smith
Dr. Dustin Arthur Smith, beloved son, brother, uncle and friend passed away peacefully on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2015 in New Orleans, LA. His last days were full of love, laughter and joy with family and friends. Dustin, already intensely missed by all who knew him, leaves a tremendous legacy of intellectual accomplishment and loving impact among his global network of friends and family. Despite his diagnosis of HOCM more than 10 years ago, which he knew took others unexpectedly; none of us thought he was in imminent danger. Dustin lived life to the fullest, and inspires all who knew him to emulate his kindness.
Born April 11, 1983 in New York, NY, Smith attended grade schools in Darien and graduated from King Low Heywood Thomas in Stamford. After high school Dustin matriculated to Wake Forest University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Neuroscience in 2004.
A gifted scholar, Dustin was invited by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to join its acclaimed Media Lab focusing on artificial intelligence. At MIT, Smith received his Masters in Science in the field of Media Arts & Sciences in 2008 and in June 2014 received his Doctorate. During his years at MIT Dustin worked with the legendary Dr. Marvin Minsky, one of the founders of Artificial Intelligence. Dustin served as one of Minsky’s teaching fellows and while an undergraduate at Wake Forest, was acknowledged for his contributions to Minksy’s best known work The Emotion Machine.
Dustin’s PhD Thesis Defense: Generating and Interpreting Referring Expressions in Context can be accessed through the link http://www.media.mit.edu/video/view/dustin-2013-08-28.
During his years at MIT Dustin authored numerous research papers and was a featured speaker at academic gatherings around the world including Spain, Sweden, Hawaii, Japan, Singapore, China, Mexico and Ireland. He spent a semester at the University of Edinburgh in college and relished his interaction with other international leaders in the research field of artificial intelligence.
Dr. Smith, a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts since 2004, received media attention for his contributions to the new venture firm Beansprock. Smith and his business partner were recently featured in Wired magazine.
Dustin is survived by his mother, Sharon Dorsey Wagoner of Darien; his father, Arthur Lawrence Smith of Houston; his stepfather Eric Wagoner of Darien. He is the cherished brother of sisters, Erin Smith Ahrens, Alexis Noelle Wagoner of Darien, Allison Lauren Smith of Houston, Texas; his brother, Roy Michael Smith of Houston, Texas; and brother-in-law Matthew Harrison Ahrens. Dustin was the very proud and well loved uncle of Brooke Charlotte Ahrens and Noah Foster Ahrens. His grandparents Sheila and Joseph Dorsey of Rye, New York and Lily Smith of Houston, Texas greatly mourn his passing. He is beloved of, will be mourned by and his memory cherished by his companion Marcio Antonio Cabral-Correa.
Known for his incredible mind and infectious sense of humor, Dustin leaves a lasting legacy of compassion and tenderness. His friends stated aptly, “ Dustin’s bright blue eyes could light up any room; He had the knack to make all those within his path realize their upside; He could listen attentively and was always there as an honest true friend; Dustin was kind in thought, word and deed and wore his intellect lightly.”
To honor and celebrate Dustin’s life, family and all friends are invited to gather on Sunday, February 22, between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. at the Edward Lawrence Funeral Home at 2119 Post Road, Darien, CT.
The funeral service is to be conducted at eleven o’clock in the morning of Monday February 23rd at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1864 Boston Post Road, Darien, CT.
Following the service, an interment will be held at Ferncliff Cemetery, 280 Secor Road, Hartsdale, NY.
A memorial service is also planned in Houston Texas for Wednesday March 11, 2015 to be held at 1:00 at the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, 11612 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77024. www.lawrencefuneralhome.com