We mourn the recent loss of Brad Smith, owner of Paulina Springs Books in Sisters, OR, former PNBA board member and treasurer, passionate booklover, dedicated and caring contributor to all the communities he was a part of, and all-around great human.
A note from Brad’s son, Austin Smith, to the customers of Paulina Springs Books:
Paulina Springs Books was my first “real job” as a kid. Brad and I would drive together from Bend listening to audio books. I learned how to run the register, receive orders, host events and earn my own money. Unfortunately, I was never much of a reader but I learned all the popular authors and titles; I sold a lot of Everybody Farts those summers. Beyond the simple tasks I learned how much Brad loved this special community.
My dad spent many hours at the bookstore, expanding the store and constantly rearranging but he enjoyed interacting with customers the most. If he could have it his way he would spend an hour chatting with each person about the book or game they were buying. And the real fun was the hard to find special orders; he would spend an unreasonable amount of time searching the country for an obscure title if it was meaningful to the customer. At home we were always trying out and testing new board games so he would know which ones to recommend. Beyond time spent in the store and with authors arranging events, he was on the Board of Directors for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and volunteered for the betterment of the Sisters and Redmond communities. All parts of his life were intertwined with the store and how to better serve this community.
I remember giving him feedback after reading one of the Cyberpassages saying it was too much information and too personal. “Trim the fat and get to the point, people don’t have all day to read your opinions.” Right or wrong, the notion that he wanted to go on at lengths sharing his opinions demonstrated that you were more than a customer, you were his community and his friends.
As some of you know, my dad passed away on Sunday May 20th. He coped with prostate cancer for the past five years. There is not much else I can say beyond “it sucks.” Thanks to his wonderful sister Cynthia and the wonderful staff, PSB will remain open. Judging from all the lovely cards and messages, you all have fond memories of him and we all hope and expect PSB will remain a vibrant part of the Sisters community that he loved.
Facebook and real-life friend Chuck Arnold wrote:
“…[Brad] always stepped up and was involved in a cause, community, or effort to make the community better. The Downtown Urban Renewal Advisory Committee (where he served…for six years) will be honoring his memory at their June 11th meeting.”
Author Karen Spears Zacharias reflected:
“A wonderful man. So thankful for the moments we spent together. Brad’s real gift, as you have so aptly noted, was that he cared – about books, about people, about the state of the world. He cared.”
Brad’s clever sense of humor, quick mind, strong principles, and warm heart will be deeply missed.
Owning Paulina Springs Books since 2003 has been a bit different from the community-owned grocery store he managed for years, but Brad is a glutton for work. He opened Paulina Springs Books in Redmond in 2007 and is active in the independent booksellers association. Brad likes to read books about the absurdity of humanity from religion to farming or any other such area where our culture has become bent. He likes to commune with nature, so maybe that’s why he would like to return in his next life as a thorny devil stick insect called Phasmatidae.
–from Brad’s staff picks page