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Robert (Bob) Wheeler Smith

Robert Wheeler SmithRobert (Bob) Wheeler Smith died on August 13, 2020 in Grantsville, MD. He was 70 years old. 

Born in Glen Rock, NJ, Smith received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bucknell University, in Political Science. It’s said that he was so taken with his political geography class textbook that he looked up its author, Louis Alexander at the University of Rhode Island, and subsequently went there to receive his Master’s degree in Geography. He earned his PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Smith joined the State Department just before the UN Law of the Sea Convention was finalized in 1982, and devoted his career to maritime boundaries. His extensive international assignments included work on treaties with Mexico, Canada, the former USSR, and Kiribati. He authored many papers in the State Department series “Limits of the Seas.” He co-authored “Excessive Maritime Claims” and co-edited the multi volume International Maritime Boundaries. 

During his career, he taught classes at Georgetown University, George Mason University, and the University of Virginia.  His favorite teaching experience was the Semester at Sea Program, which he taught after his retirement from the State Department.  

Smith consulted for numerous countries on their own maritime boundaries, spending time at the Hague at the International Court of Justice and in Hamburg at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Smith is survived by his wife Sandra, brother, Arthur Smith, daughters Laura and Tesia, and son-in-law Federico Guerrero. He is predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Carolyn Smith, and his brother, Frederick Smith.