Westborough, MA. Ralph E. Smith, 77, of Cheshire, MA, died peacefully on March, 30, 2017, in Lower Cape Fear Hospice, Bolivia, NC, following a six month illness and care given in his NC home.
Born in Rockland, ME, third of eight children, he was the son of the late Charles W. Smith and Sued Mae (Brann) Smith. His early years were influenced by his grandfathers. One was a Maine lobster fisherman and the other a woodsman, originally from County Cork, Ireland, who felled trees in the Maine woods and removed them with Roan horses. Ralph enjoyed the sea and the outdoors and drew inspiration from these hard working men.
Educated in Westborough schools, Ralph graduated in 1959. He was a member of the Westborough Athletic Club and enjoyed participating in Firemen’s Musters and other activities. He enlisted in the United States Army under-going Basic Training at Fort Hood, Texas. He was on standby in Florida during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. He was deployed to Schweinfurt, Germany, served as a Tank Driver guarding the Czechoslovakian border and later served as Personal Driver for Colonel Fleck of the US Armored Division.
Ralph began working at Bay State Abrasives in 1965 and remained there until its closing in 2003.
Ralph served as a Boy Scout leader in Upton, MA, in the 1960’s and in Shrewsbury, MA, thereafter. He was a communicant of St. Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury, MA, from 1968 until 2010 where he offered support to many endeavors including the Haiti Missions, October-Fest and the Mustard Seed monthly meals. Ralph served on the Parish Council and Pre Cana Team. He and his wife, Kathleen, participated in Marriage Encounter.
Ralph learned carpentry and cabinet making from his father. He helped build houses in Westborough as a youth and later built and enjoyed his home workshop. He built additions, sheds and decks for his home and those of Shady Lane neighbors. He crafted many wooden items for craft fairs, family and friends. He particularly enjoyed making small furniture, puzzles and toys for his grandchildren and the children of family friends. Ralph could often be found in his workshop smoking his pipe while sanding his most recent bird carving. His joy was spending workshop time with his grandchildren as he encouraged and taught them to make any project they could imagine.
After retirement he divided his time between Cheshire, MA, in the Berkshires and Ocean Isle Beach, NC. He enjoyed travelling to Ireland and took pleasure in humorous stories and many friendships.
Ralph is predeceased by his son, Alan C. Smith, his parents, his sisters, Christine Farson, Arlene Griffin and Kathleen Smith and his brothers, Francis Smith and Charles L. Smith. He is recently predeceased by his brother-in-law, Robert Brown, of Whiting, ME.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Kathleen Brown Smith, his two daughters, Andrea Smith of Worcester, MA, and Lynn Di Nonno and her husband, Richard, of Ocean Isle Beach, NC, and by his son Ryan Smith O’Gowan and his wife Sara of Cumberland RI. “Papa” will be greatly missed by his six granddaughters, Lindsay, Amanda, Madison, Serena, Sophia and Chloe, five grandsons, Matthew, Jordan, Cory, Brandon and John and two great granddaughters, Kyleigh and Isabella.
Ralph is survived by his sister, Elaine Hamilton and her husband, Raymond, of New Port Richie, Florida, and his brother, Bruce, and his wife, Lorraine, of Woonsocket, RI. He is also survived by his cousin, Barbara Upham and her husband, Robert, of Framingham, MA.
He is survived by his brothers-in-law, Paul Brown and his partner, Ms Kyle Harvey, Francis Brown and his wife, Nancy, and his sister-in-law, Mary Gonzalez, and her husband, Jose. Many beloved nieces and nephews of both the Smith and Brown families survive him as well. He was proud to be a godparent to several wonderful young people over the years including Earl Fay, Jon Lapointe, Kevin Donnelly, Kevin, Sealy, Caitlyn Sealy and Diana Lea Brown.
Ralph was a convert to Catholicism in the early 1960’s, studying under Fr. Joseph Ash in Westborough.
A Funeral Mass for Ralph will be celebrated at 10:30 AM on Saturday, June 24, 2017 in conjunction with his brother-in-law Robert Brown’s Memorial Mass at St. Luke the Evangelist Church, 90 W. Main Street, Westborough, MA. Calling hours for Ralph will take place at Britton-Summers Funeral Home, 4 Church Street, Westborough, MA on June 23, 2017 from 3:30 PM until 6:30 PM. The family will greet Robert Brown’s callers in the St. Luke’s vestibule at 10 AM on June 24, prior to Mass. Ralph’s burial will take place immediately following Mass in St. Luke’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Catholic International Relief Services, PO Box 17090, Baltimore, MD, 21203-7190 or to the charity of one’s choice.
Coastal Cremations: Funeral and Cremation services for Horry County, Brunswick County, New Hanover County and surrounding areas.