Reuben Walker Eliyahu Smith

Date of Birth

May 17, 1987

Date of Death

November 6, 2023

As we bid farewell to a soul who embraced life with an extraordinary fervor, we mourn the passing of Reuben Walker Eliyahu Smith. His departure leaves an indelible void, and we reflect on the poignant words from one of his own poems, asking the profound question: “Did you love this world of ours the best way you knew how?”

Reuben, aged 36, departed on November 6th, 2023, having traversed diverse landscapes both in terms of geography and experience. An intrepid adventurer and world traveler, he found beauty in perpetual movement, believing it was better to run toward something beautiful than away from the undesirable. His remarkable mind, a beacon of creativity, manifested in the communities he nurtured, the friendships he cherished, and the art and poetry that flowed from his being.

Born on May 17th, 1987, the result of a serendipitous union during the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, Reuben spent his formative years in the hills above Santa Barbara. His early education, influenced by SB Home Schoolers and the Open Alternative School, cultivated a love for the arts, particularly in theater set building. Even as a young boy, he felt the pull of the village, finding “adopted” homes that bridged the gap between the tranquil mountain life and the vibrant pace of town.

Reuben’s impact extends far beyond his roots, leaving an indelible mark on the world of transformational festivals locally and internationally. He served on the board of the Santa Barbara non-profit Fishbon Arts Collaborative, built floats for the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration, played pivotal roles in the early years of Lucidity Festival, and later contributed to Enchanted Forest Gathering in Northern California and Envision Festival in Costa Rica. His visionary leadership and commitment to integrity resonated in everything he undertook, leaving a legacy of authenticity and community building.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Reuben was a man of diverse passions – from music, movement, and paragliding to diving, motorcycling, festivals, gaming, and storytelling. Yet, his true passion lay in being a helper and connector. In moments of hardship, he offered not only friendship but profound wisdom and new perspectives. Reuben dedicated himself to empowering others, fearlessly navigating uncomfortable conversations, and embodying the essence of a true friend.

Reuben leaves behind his birth family, Kate and Brian Smith, his sister Emily Smith, extended family, his beloved dog, and friends scattered across the globe. His departure leaves us equipped with more tools for navigating life and inspires us to honor his memory by uplifting our neighbors and sharing the love he so generously gave. In our collective grief, we unite to pay homage to Reuben’s legacy, vowing to be the versions of ourselves that he envisioned.

Farewell, Reuben. May your spirit find profound and restful peace, and even in death, may you be running toward something beautiful, while simultaneously knowing you have been the beauty all along.


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