Richard Stace-Smith was born on May 2, 1924, at Creston, B.C., and entered UBC in 1947, graduating with a BSA in 1950. While still an undergraduate, he was employed as a Student Assistant with the Federal Laboratory of Plant Pathology, located on the UBC campus. After graduation, he was hired as a Plant Pathologist, with the assignment to undertake research on virus diseases of small fruits. He then received educational leave to undertake graduate work at Oregon State University, where he completed a PhD in 1954 with a thesis on raspberry viruses. He returned to the Laboratory of Plant Pathology, which became a Section of the Vancouver Research Station officially in 1960. Dr Stace-Smith remained at the Agriculture Canada Vancouver Research Station until official retirement in 1989.
While Dr. Stace-Smith was hired to work on raspberry virus disease problems, his interest expanded to include viruses of other crops, primarily strawberries and potatoes, working with Dr. Norman Wright and Frances Mellor at the Vancouver Research Station; and to the work of other scientists, primarily those work at Agriculture Canada Stations in British Columbia – Dr. Jack Freeman and Dr. Hugh Daubeny at Agassiz who conducted research on yield loss in raspberries and strawberries due to virus infection; and to the work of Dr. Maurice Welsh and Dr. Juergen Hansen on apple viruses of the Summerland Station, and scientists and technicians at the Sydney Quarantine facility.
Dr. Stace-Smith was an active member of professional societies, including the Canadian Phytopathological Society (President, 1981-82, Associate Editor, Canadian Journal Plant Pathology, 1987-1993): the American Phytopathological Society (President, Pacific Division, 1975-76, Senior Editor, Plant Disease, 1990-1993); Agricultural Institute of Canada (Editor, Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 1976-79); and the International Society for Horticultural Sciences (Secretary, Small Fruit Working Group, 1984-87).
Dr. Stace-Smith’s work was recognized over the years. He was one of five scientists who shared the Merit Award, Public Service of Canada, 1972. He was elected Fellow, American Phytopathological Society in 1983; he was elected Fellow, Canadian Phytopathological Society, 1987; he was recipient of International Award in Virology in 1997; and he was inducted in the Order of British Columbia in 1999. He served on a Canadian Potato Mission to USSR, 1976; a Canadian Potato Mission to the European Economic Community, 1985; conducted a plant virus lecture series in China, 1988; and served on a Canadian Potato Mission to Uruguay in 1989. He was granted transfer of work assignments to the Scottish Crop Research Institute, 1958; the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute, Littlehampton, England, 1970-71; Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture, 1976; and the Victoria (Australia) Research Station, 1981.
Dr Stace-Smith was associated with the Faculty as an Adjunct Professor in the Plant Science Department, contributing to an undergraduate course on Plant Pathology. His involvement increased in 1971 when the Director of the Vancouver Research Station (Dr Marvin Weintraub) and the Dean (Dr Michael Shaw) encouraged the researchers to jointly develop a new graduate course on Plant Virology open to graduate students enrolled in both UBC and SFU. This proved to be a popular course and it attracted graduate students from across Canada, with the various scientists serving as thesis advisors. The close collaboration between the scientists at the Vancouver Research Station and the Faculty suffered when Agriculture Canada opted to close the Vancouver Research Station in 1996 and reassign the scientists to other research stations in parts of Canada.