Professor of philosophy emeritus John Edwin Smith died on Dec. 7 from a stroke, The New York Times reported Wednesday. He was 88 years old.

Smith, who taught at Yale between 1952 and 1991, focused his research on the role of religion in the American consciousness. His most prominent books included “Experience and God” and “America’s Philosophical Vision.”

Smith continued to live in New Haven after he retired from teaching at Yale, though he died in Arlington, Va. He is survived by his two daughters, Diana Smith and Robin Smith Swanberg, along with one grandchild, according to The New York Times.

Smith’s former student Thomas P. Kasulis wrote the editorial introduction for Smith’s 1997 book “The Recovery of Philosophy in America,” and said that he always admired Smith not only as a scholar but also as a person.

“If I could become someone like John Smith,” Kasulis recalled thinking as a student, “that would not be a bad thing.”