William Douglas Smith, 91|
May 27, 1925 ó May 20, 2017
William Douglas Smith, 91, passed away Saturday, May 20, 2017, at his home surrounded by his family.
Doug was born May 27, 1925, in Houghton, Michigan, the son of Chester and Evadne (Thatcher) Smith. After graduating from Houghton High School, Doug enlisted in the U.S. Navy Air Corps from 1943-45, where he served in a combat air crew as a flight engineer on a patrol bomber mariner in the Philippines. After his service, Doug graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University, and earned a Master of Science degree from Purdue University in mechanical engineering with an aeronautical option. In 1952, Doug was recruited by West Bend Aluminum Co. in Hartford, where he helped design and develop Elgin outboard motors for Sears. Later, after West Bend was acquired by Chrysler Corp., he was the lead engineer in bringing to market the first electric-start fishing outboards. He finished his career as Quality Control Manager for the Chrysler inboard manufacturing business, retiring in 1995.
Doug joined the Hartford American Legion Band, now known as the Hartford City Band, as a percussionist in 1952, where he met Margaret Butzler, an alto saxophone player. They were married July 9, 1955 at St. Kilian Catholic Church and raised five children together.
In addition to performing with the band, he also served as its treasurer, business manager and equipment manager for many decades. He retired from playing in the band in 2015.
Doug had an avid interest in scouting, having earned the rank of Eagle Scout at age 15 in Houghton, Michigan. He served as committee chairman of Troop 795 of Hartford, where his three sons were also Boy Scouts.
Active in the Hartford community, Doug served as an alderman for the Common Council and as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. He was also a member of the Hartford Rotary Club, where he served as their assistant treasurer, and was a Paul Harris Fellow.
Doug enjoyed traveling back to Michigan for family vacations, camping, boating, and especially picking thimbleberries in the bush with his lifelong friend, Lloyd Short. Other interests included walking his beloved dog Rambo, attending University of Wisconsin football games, bowling, being a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and of the Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA), and participating in their activities.
Doug is survived by his wife of 61 years, Margaret; five children, Laura Smith of Brown Deer, Carl (Kimberly) Smith of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Tom (Deb) Smith of Charlotte, North Carolina, Jim (Liz) Smith of Olney, Maryland, and Ann Marie Smith of Auburn, Washington; five grandchildren, Ryan, Adam (Diana), Katherine, Ethan and Alexandra; four great-grandchildren, Abigail, Hannah, Sarah and Joshua; brother-in-law, Dr. Ed Bennett; sisters-in-law, Sister Helen Butzler, SSSF, and Rosella Butzler; several nieces, nephews, and other relatives; and special friends, the Lloyd and Rosemary Short family and Lisa Marie and Randy McCord.
Doug was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Mildred Bennett and Frances White; and his first wife, Sarah Robinson Smith, and their infant daughter, Helen Smith.
A visitation will be held Tuesday, May 23, at the Berndt-Ledesma Funeral Home in Hartford from 4-7 p.m., followed by a Vigil service at 7 p.m. A visitation will also be held Wednesday, May 24, from 10-11 a.m. at St. Kilian Catholic Church, 428 Forest St., Hartford. This will be followed by the Mass of Resurrection at 11 a.m., at St. Kilian, with the Rev. David LaPlante presiding. Committal will be at a later date at St. Kilian Catholic Cemetery.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Dougís hospice services and Help At Home caregivers, Brittany, Katie, Cindy, and Sheena.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to St. Kilianís School of the Past & School of the Future Fund, the Schauer Arts Center, or a charity of the donorís choosing.
Berndt-Ledesma Funeral Home of Hartford is assisting the family: 262673-4700 orwww.berndt-ledesmafuneralhome.com.