Oxfordshire Green Party

Don Smith obituary

7 November 2012

We pay tribute to Don Smith, who died aged 53 on Monday October 15th 2012. Don touched thousands of lives, bringing people together from all walks of life, inspiring, challenging and sometimes changing them.

Born in Torquay, Don moved to Oxford in the early 1980’s. An original Ecology Party member, he became Oxford Green Party’s election agent, and candidate for Oxford East, and Oxford West and Abingdon. Don helped Oxford Green party rise to become what was then the most successful Green Party in the country.

In the mid 1990’s Don co-founded Oxford GreenPrint, designed as an accessible environmentally-aware print-shop for small groups, which he housed in his basement at 50 Aston Street. In the same spirit Don helped start up Oxford Cycle Workshop.

Don typed Green Party literature on the computer in his attic, and would amuse his friends and colleagues with his extraordinary mental abilities by beating them at chess, not looking at the board, but calling out his moves at the same time as writing. Parties for election counts were held at his house, and Friday night film parties at Don’s house became a regular event for OGP members.

In the late 1990’s Don left the Green Party. Never doing anything by halves, Don immersed himself in a new passion for hedonism. He developed his Art/Party House, commissioning local artists to create a series of painted and sculpted spaces inside an externally ordinary terraced house. Don lived in this unique 3D sculpture, to which thousands of people came, especially during Oxford Art Weeks, when he and his friends worked in shifts showing groups of visitors around from morning until evening. Don built a hot-tub, sauna and wood-fire heated tepee in his beautiful garden.

Don’s profoundly generous hospitality led to legendary weekly parties which anyone could
freely attend so long as they arrived before 10pm.

After a decade of hedonism Don felt he was now finished with hosting large parties. He painted his Art/Party House white throughout, sold it, and lived quietly, his central focus having become providing a home for Max.

Don was greatly loved and will be sorely missed.

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