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Edgar Benton Smith, MD, BSI

Dr. Moore Agar

by Marilynne McKay

I met Ben Smith in Albuquerque in 1972 when he was Chairman of Dermatology at UNM and I was a medical student; he became my mentor in both dermatology and Sherlock Holmes. During a fellowship year in England he had joined the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, and in New Mexico he was active in The Brothers Three of Moriarty. Ben was a founder of The Sir James Saunders Society, a come-one-come-all Baker Street Irregulars scion convening for lunch during the annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting. When fellow founder Herman Beerman, “Sir James Saunders” in the BSI, once complained of “too many women” at the luncheon, Ben, who had a wicked sense of humor, arranged for the next program to include nothing but female presenters “in Herman’s honor.”

During his 21 years in Galveston, Ben founded the Strollers on the Strand (SOTS) scion, then back in Albuquerque, we co-founded The Gila Lizards of the Arid and Repulsive Desert. An avid collector, he was also a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and had first editions of all the Tarzan books. He liked for scions to read The Creeping Man so he could compare and contrast the acuities of Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan.

Ben was a distinguished academic dermatologist who served as president of the American Academy of Dermatology and in 2003 received its highest award, the Gold Medal. He was a devoted husband to Elaine, his wife of 51 years, and a loving father to his two daughters and their families. He also delighted in travel, cigars, the Boston Red Sox, bolo ties, early 20th century American pottery, religious history, pipes, pulp fiction, subways, “bargain” hotels, and teaching. His warmth, humor, and enthusiasm for life will be missed by friends all over the world.

from Ben's memorial in the Baker Street Journal, 2005.