Rollin R. Smith, a longtime Highlands County resident and popular musician, died recently at his home in Placid Lakes.
Mr. Smith had a varied career, from running the Lovington Reporter in Lovington, Ill. to writing speeches for the Governor of Illinois. But his first love was music, often saying “music is my life.” While in the Army, he played music in the 747th US Army Air Force Band.
Mr. Smith performed with many bands in and around Decatur and Springfield, Ill. During the 1980’s he moved to Sebring and became involved with many local bands, including the Highlandaires, Highlands County Concert Band, Highlands Symphonic Orchestra, and small groups. If there was music to be made, he was there.
It was about 18 years ago at a jam session that Mr. Smith met George Filip of Lake Placid. From that day on they were the “Stardusters,” playing for retirement parties, nursing homes, senior centers, and special area happenings.
Mr. Smith met his wife, Susan during a rehearsal of the Highlands Symphonic Orchestra. She played the French Horn then but soon transitioned to play the trumpet. Shortly after meeting her husband-to-be, she joined the Stardusters along with Bill Bernard, a drummer from Ohio.
Mr. Smith is survived by his wife and three children. There will be a Celebration of his life Monday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. in the Highlands Senior Center at 3400 Sebring Parkway in Sebring. The community is invited. Gary Filip and several local musicians will play music.