By Rylla Smith
FORT COLLINS, Colorado (PNN) - September 5, 2021 - Lester Neil Smith III, novelist and political commentator, gunsmith and musician, visionary and futurist, passed away on Friday, August 27 at Poudre Valley Hospital after a lengthy battle with heart and kidney disease. He was 75 years old.
A long-time resident of Fort Collins, Colorado, Neil was born on May 12, 1946 at Mercy Hospital in Denver, Colorado to Maj. Lester N. Smith II and Marie L. Coveleskie Smith.
Neil, known in the world of science fiction as L. Neil Smith or, affectionately, “El Neil,” is survived by his beloved wife, Cathy L.Z. Smith, his daughter, Rylla C. Smith, his brother Roger L. Smith, his nephews Nolan and Travis, and his aunt, Barbara Ohlwiler, as well as countless friends and brothers-in-arms. He was preceded in death by his mother and father.
Neil’s life was one spent perpetually looking forward - toward the future of freedom, of technology, of the continuation of the evolution of the human body, mind, and spirit, and toward the endless sea of stars. As a child, he wanted to be a marine biologist, to discover the unknown in the depths of the seas; this translated naturally in his young adulthood to a thirst for knowledge of the far greater unknown beyond the shores of this world.
Neil had an avid interest in the politics of personal liberty and always stood for what he believed to be right. He had a passion for friendly debate and never shied away from speaking his mind.
In the late 1970s, he wrote the first of his many novels, The Probability Broach, which began a long and prolific career in the burgeoning world of liberty-oriented science fiction, and was the creator of the Prometheus Award, as well as the recipient of the 2016 Special Prometheus Award for Lifetime Achievement.
"Yet, what is bravery but the capacity to reject our fears, ignore and suppress them,
then go on to do whatever it is we are afraid to do."
- L. Neil Smith
By Rylla Smith