Thompson “Bill” “Smitty” Smith ’65

T. William Smith February 1, 1943 August 5, 2020 Thompson William Smith (a.k.a. “Smitty” and “Bill Smith”) was born on February 1, 1943 in Flushing, New York.

He was a musician, teacher, wood worker, adventurer, sailor, husband, and friend. At the age of 77, he died on August 5, 2020. As the youngest of three brothers, he grew up in Flushing. Upon graduating from Flushing High School in 1960 he attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Bill taught English and math at the Portage Northern High School in Portage, Michigan for four years. He then moved to Wayland, Massachusetts where he taught children with learning differences at the Carroll School in Lincoln. He also spent time doing woodworking in his shop.

In 1978, he married Sarah and they moved to Salem, Massachusetts. They became active members of Salem’s Universalist Church. Bill continued to do cabinetwork and taught woodworking at the Tower School in Marblehead. In 1980 they started a series of Contra Dances and founded and directed the Salem Country Dance Orchestra where Sarah called the dances.

In 1999, Bill and Sarah bought a property on the Back Cove in Waldoboro, Maine where they designed and built a house on the shore. When the house became habitable in 2003, they moved to Maine full time. In 2010, Bill and Sarah joined the Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Belfast, Maine. They moved into their new home there in 2013 as an engaged and passionate member of the Co-Housing community. He never stopped learning and composing new songs, singing the old ones, leading community sings and teaching five-string banjo and won many “Old Time” banjo contests. Bill was a quietly charismatic leader with a common sense approach to problem solving and an infectious “Let’s do this!” spirit.

When his beloved Sarah passed away six months ago, he might have laid down the mantle of community leadership but he did not. He carried on with style and grace and inspired us to be our best selves. His final adventure was to The Forks, Maine, for a rafting trip on the Kennebec River. The following day, on August 5, while floating down the gently flowing water of the Kennebec River on a rafting inner tube he left us peacefully to re-join Sarah.

Bill was pre-deceased by his wife, Sarah, his brother, Bob and by Lorraine, the wife of his surviving brother, Don. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews Janet and Dan Rice, Bob and Maria Smith, Debbie Schneider, Karen and Frank Cottone, Carol and Ed Boyle, Don and Jennifer Smith, as well as many grandnieces and grandnephews, plus countless friends, musicians, woodworkers, singers, sailors, and fellow adventurers.

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