Raymond J. Smith
Raymond Joseph Smith (1930–2008) was for more than thirty years the editor of Ontario Review, a literary magazine, and the Ontario Review Press, a literary book publisher, and for more than 45 years the husband of writer Joyce Carol Oates.
Smith was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 12, 1930. He went to the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee where he earned a bachelor's degree in English. He then transferred and received his PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1960, and met his future wife. He taught English literature at the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario and New York University until 1980, when he left teaching for publishing. He is also the author of Charles Churchill, a critical study on the 18th-century British satirist, and editor of numerous anthologies of works which appeared in Ontario Review.
He died February 18, 2008, in Princeton, New Jersey, from "complications of pneumonia", according to the funeral home which handled his burial.
The website Celestial Timepiece remembers him as "husband, scholar, editor, publisher, friend."
A Widow's Memoir
Smith's wife, Joyce Carol Oates, published a memoir in February 2011 recounting their 47-year marriage and her struggle to cope with his sudden death. According to Oates, he became ill at home in mid-February 2008 and was admitted to the Princeton Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a virulent form of Pneumonia. He was still in the hospital recovering from the pneumonia when, a week later, he was stricken by a secondary infection. Oates was called to his bedside in the middle of the night, but he died before she arrived.
In A Widow's Story Oates writes that Smith came from an intensely devout Catholic Irish American family and, as a young man, he entered a seminary. But Smith would later become "furious at the church". She confides that Smith left behind an unfinished novel, which he had started before they met and continued intermittently through the years.
Oates was 22 when, after a three-month courtship, she married the 31-year old Smith in 1961. The couple had no children, and neither wrote about that aspect of their marriage.
- The Washington Post, Sunday Book Review, 13 February 2011; "Joyce Carol Oates' 'A Widow's Story' "; by Valerie Sayers; accessed 13 Feb 2011.
- Los Angeles Times, Sunday Book Review, 13 February 2011; "Book Review: 'A Widow's Story' by Joyce Carol Oates"; by Los Angeles Times book critic David L. Ulin; accessed 13 Feb 2011.