Arnold G. “Arnie” Smith, a former Bellevue Public Schools assistant superintendent, died Saturday at the age of 82.
He served with the district for 28 years, retiring in 1989. Before becoming an assistant superintendent for business services, Smith began with the district as a teacher at Bellevue High School, then became dean and assistant principal at Bellevue High and Mission Junior High before moving to the business office.
Smith was known during his tenure as a quiet but effective force, one of the behind-the-scenes administrators whose role was often unrecognized and unsung.
A 1989 Bellevue Leader column marking Smith’s retirement from the district noted his pivotal contributions to the Metro Conference, which was then in its 25th year.
Ron Huston, then-athletic director at Omaha Westside High School, noted Smith’s lack of interest in personal recognition.
“Arnie was never particularly looking for accolades,” he said. “Arnie’s a gut-level worker who’s taken a concern-for-kids approach. He’s always been one to do what’s best for the kids.”
Smith was a member of the 1955 Omaha University team that won the Tangerine Bowl, still the only football bowl trophy on display at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
He was named athlete of the year in 1956 by the Omaha University Alumni Association.
He also served nine years on the Nebraska Schools Athletic Association’s Board of Control, and was chairman in 1972.
Smith suffered from Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, and children Claire, Carl, Anna, Gina and Carmen. A funeral will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Joan of Arc Church.