Ronald (Ron) George Smith of South Londonderry, VT, and Tampa, FL, passed away while undergoing treatment at the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa on May 5, 2019. Ron is survived by his wife of 60 years, Marguerite (Peg) A. Smith; 4 Children: Mark and his spouse, Susan; Laura, Elizabeth (Beth) and Bradley (Brad); 6 Grandchildren: Jesse and his spouse, Bernadette (Bernie); Heidi, Bart and his spouse, Caroline; Jennifer (Jenny), Ashlyn and Brooke; and 4 Great-Grandchildren: Diedra (Didi), Gio, Lizbeth & Athena; his brother, Robert Smith, and nieces and nephews Justin, Courtney, Fergus and Trevor. Memorial Services will be held on June 3, 2019, at 11 AM, at the Baptist Church of South Londonderry, 62 Crescent St., South Londonderry, VT, with an Interment Service to follow at Glebe View Cemetery. A Family / Friends gathering will take place at the Smith House, 597 Winhall Station Rd., after the Services. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in Ron’s honor to the Baptist Church of South Londonderry “Steeple Fund” to help rebuild the steeple that was lost when the church burned down in August 2010. Condolences can be sent to The Smith Family, Atamaniuk Funeral Home, 40 Terrace Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301-2923, or on their website http://www.atamaniuk.com.
Ron was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, on July 3, 1936, to parents Herbert Oscar “Tink” Smith of South Londonderry, VT, and Catherine (Kay) Gildea of Lawrence, MA. Ron was the oldest of 4 children, followed by Herbert Nelson Smith “Butch” born in 1941 (deceased in 1968), Robert J. Smith, born 1944, and Catherine A. Smith “Cathy” born in 1949 (deceased in 2017). Ron attended Middle School at Suffield Academy in Suffield, Connecticut, and graduated from Springfield High School in 1955.
In July of 1956, Ron enlisted in the Air force and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, after which he was sent for Technical Training to service B-52’s, “The Big Boys.” After completing his B-52 training, he requested a transfer of duty to “Anywhere but Texas” and was transferred to Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California. This was much more than a “Get out of Texas” card, as while he was stationed at Mather, he met Marguerite Ann Horton, who was also serving in the Air Force. Peg (as she was known) and Ron were married in Sacramento on January 10th, 1959, and had their first child, Mark, in October of that year, which was the start of “Our Family”.
Ron left the Air Force in July of 1960, and later that summer he, Peg, and baby drove across county to Vermont. Ron’s father Tink was involved in the development of the Stratton ski area and Ron was needed to help out in the family’s lumber mill, “Smith Inc.” While Ron worked at the mill, the family grew by three more children, Laura born in 1961, Beth in 1964, and Brad in 1967. While Ron worked in the lumber mill, he was a member of the Stratton ski patrol as well as the Londonderry Rescue Squad. This was fortuitous when Mark in the 3rd grade broke his arm at Flood Brooke Elementary while falling off the monkey bars, and in the 4th Grade broke his leg, (again) while skiing at Bromely. Both times Ron was there for his son and on the way to Springfield hospital, Ron allowed Mark to blow the siren in the ambulance. There was less drama with the other kids, and Ron was always home with the family at 4:45 when the whistle blew. Ron and Peg built a new house to house their family in the field across from his parents’ in 1969, and Ron was always helping others as his father had taught him: plowing driveways, delivering firewood, pulling out stuck cars, mowing lawns and just generally being a neighborly Vermonter. Peg and Ron loved to camp and go to the beach and many a summer was spent in Maine, New Hampshire or New Jersey beach towns.
In 1978, one side of the family, “Tink,” sold the lumber mill to the other, “Big Dick,” and Ron then changed careers helping manage Smith Haven, a newly constructed 26-unit Senior Care Living Center located behind Derrytown Market (now Brown Enterprises). Derrytown Market was a grocery store that was owned by Ron’s brother, Bob, and managed by Peg. Ron and Peg co-managed Smith Haven until Tink’s passing in 1996 when it was sold. To this day, Smith Haven is still a Senior Care Living Center and the Smith family is very proud to have been a part of its founding. In 1980, Ron’s oldest daughter, Laura was married and started a family in a small house right across the road from his and Peg’s, eventually adding to Ron’s family with four Grandchildren, Jesse, Heidi, Bart and Jenny. Ron installed a pool at the house in the late 70’s and it was the focal point of many family gatherings, especially on the 4th of July, which was a co-celebration with Ron’s birthday on the 3rd.
Peg and Ron’s love of camping evolved into traveling in larger and larger RVs that brought them to Florida for the first winter in their retirement years. They found a lovely campground, North Beach, on a barrier island just north of St. Augustine, when they were visiting Mark one fall while he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville. North Beach would be their winter home for the next 20 or so years with a lovely inter-coastal beach for their many Sheltie dogs to run along, and the ocean on the other side that Ron loved. Peg and Ron would make the drive each spring back to Vermont, exploring many great cities and beaches on the way back to Vermont. Summers would always be spent in Vermont, with Brad living close by in Dorset; he would come for breakfast on Saturdays and help Ron with the latest project. Beth lives in Burlington and would visit often in the summer to spend time with Peg and Ron. Each fall, when the leaves would turn, and usually prior to the first snowfall, Peg and Ron would head back down to North Beach.
It was just last year that Peg and Ron decided that they needed to find a more permanent home, sold the family house in Vermont to Mark, and moved into University Village, a Senior Living facility in Tampa, close to Mark, Laura and all of their Grandkids. Sadly, Ron’s time was short at University Village, but he loved the complex, and walking Shelly (their latest Sheltie) around the grounds gave him great pleasure. Ron was loved greatly, and he will be missed.