The son of a well-known Warwickshire businessman has died while out walking on the Isle of Skye.
The body of Dr Oliver Smith, the son of Opus Land owner Richard Smith, was discovered almost two months after he failed to return from a walking expedition while holidaying on the Scottish island.
The 33-year-old, a lecturer in Russian at St Andrews University, was visiting the area with his wife and daughter in April when he went missing. Despite an extensive search at the time, his body was not found until earlier this month.
A police spokesman said the circumstances were not suspicious and it was believed he was caught in bad weather and died in an accident.
Oliver’s father Richard is well-known in business circles having successfully built Henley-in-Arden-based Opus Land into one of the region’s leading independent property companies.
He is also a former chair of the property group of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and chairman of the now world-renowned Orchestra Of The Swan based in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Born in Solihull, Oliver grew up in Warwickshire and was educated at prep school before attending historic Warwick School. He went on to obtain a first-class degree in Russian from Leeds University and a masters in Russian Studies, followed by a doctorate from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London.
He joined the Russian department at St Andrews in 2008. St Andrews principal Louise Richardson praised him in an email to staff and students for his “dry wit, a very sharp intellect, a scholar with a stellar career ahead of him and, most importantly, a readiness to give of his own time to help others”.
As well as an expert linguist, Oliver was an accomplished pianist but his true love was Russia, a passion sparked by a school trip to St Petersburg.
It was while studying Russian at Moscow State University in the late 1990s that he met his wife Shelley where she was also a student. They married in 2004 and have a one-year-old daughter Thea. Oliver was also passionate about his religious beliefs, the protection of nature and a love for animals.
Rebecca Emerick, a former student of his, told the university student newspaper: “Dr Smith was very popular. He was kind, friendly and extremely mischievous- everything you want in an tutor. It was only really when you sat down over a game of Russian Scrabble with him and watched him instantly whip up multiple triple word scores in one go or heard him on the piano that you glimpsed how intense and elegant his mind was. His absence is felt very deeply.”
A memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, is on Saturday, June 22.