Haskell W. Smith, 65, founder, president and chief executive officer of Columbia Financial Corp., an Annandale-based lending institution in the encyclopedia sales industry, died Jan. 3.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said Mr. Smith drowned in an accident off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico. Mr. Smith was in Acapulco for a meeting of the board of directors of Learning Technologies Inc.

A former executive of an encyclopedia sales firm, he started Columbia Financial Corp. in 1972, and in 1989, he opened U.S. Credit & Collection Inc., serving as president and chief executive officer of both businesses.

He was also active in community and church-related organizations. He volunteered with the Fairfax County Youth Basketball league and served on the board of directors of the University of Maryland Educational Fund and the Northern Virginia Salvation Army.

He was a past president of the Annandale Rotary Club and a member of the Virginia Conference's Board of Pensions and Related Health Benefits.

He was a native of Alamance County, N.C., and a graduate of Asbury College in Willmore, Ky.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Willa Lindsay Smith of Annandale; three children, Rodney Smith of Annandale, Janet Smith of Silver Spring and Susan Smith of Annandale; his mother, Edna Smith of Burlington, N.C.; a sister; and two brothers.