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Dad Sent Me To Mars

“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.”

—Bryant H. McGill

This story contributed by Peter H. Smith.

He was born in 1902 in Easley, South Carolina. No electricity, no radio, no television, no cars, no running water, and no stores — they grew food on the family farm. Outdoor kitchen and outdoor bathrooms. You get the picture.

But my dad, Hugh Smith, was a born adventurer.

Peter and his father, Hugh Smith

A small farming town could only hold him so long. In 1923, at the age of 21, he drove his Ford Model T across the country, camping along the roadside. He just wanted to “see what’s out there.” Since childhood, he was consumed with an insatiable curiosity for the world and beyond.

His first real “adventure” was Rochester Med School. But he wasn’t satisfied with just the M.D. — he later attended Johns Hopkins for a second degree in Public Health.

Working as a virologist for the Rockefeller Foundation, he would take on his next (and probably his greatest) adventure… Yellow fever.