Arthur Smith, 92, of Homosassa FL, passed away on July 6, 2023 at the Citrus Hospice House in Lecanto with his wife at his side.
Dad was born September 6, 1930 in Burlington, VT. He grew up on a dairy farm in West Enosburg Vermont, the son of Arthur Smith Sr and Bessie Young. It was here that he got his strong work ethic. On the farm they had just one day off a year. On that day, neighbors did their chores so they could attend the fair at Essex. The next day they would reciprocate so their neighbors could attend.
He grew up during the depression and the second world war when things were rationed or were financially out of reach so he learned to make do. He helped with the livestock but also trapped on the 100-acre farm so that he could sell the pelts for $5.
At 17, the boy who had never seen the ocean, joined the Navy. He saw allot of the world in the next four years including Greenland and Italy, but it was pre-Castro Cuba that he liked the most. He was based in Savannah GA and Norfolk VA. He was proud of his service and always looked forward to his Navy Reunions.
He was a hard worker, working six days a week. After work he would tend a large garden and played croquet or board games, or swam with his family. Three out of four Fridays a month from Easter to Halloween he’d come home and we would go camping. On Saturday morning he’d get up early and drive back to work and return late Saturday afternoon, to play bocce or sit around the camp fire with friends. Sunday mornings you would find him singing silly songs outside the campers of friends to get them up. Winters were spent snowmobiling, hunting and spending time with friends.
He was great with kids and they all loved him, many calling him their second father. He was the “fun Dad” and taught the neighborhood kids how to ride a bike.
He made friends where ever he went and they were lifelong friendships. He was always available to lend a hand to any one in need. If something was broken, he could fix it. There was no one who could ever say a bad word about him.
To say that Dad had a way with animals is an understatement. He was a real Dr. Doolittle. It might be a crow sitting on the ladder while he painted the house, a dog climbing a ladder to be with him as he shingled the roof or a chipmunk climbing into his lap when we were camping. He was always coming home with something: baby squirrels in his pockets, a mallard duck or turtle. He would open the kitchen door and toss his hat in and Ma would ask what he’d brought home this time. Another, it was a blue jay that had sat on his steering wheel all the way home. For the rest of that summer whenever Dad went out in the yard, “Billy Bob” would come sit on his head. They all knew he was a gentle soul.
He and Norma retired to Tarpon Springs, Florida in 1991 and enjoyed walking along the sponge docks hand in hand. Retirement lasted just 6 months before he returned to work 5 days a week so he “wouldn’t just cripple up and die.” He worked this job for another 25 years. They continued taking cruises, traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and gathered with friends to visit and play cards regularly.
He was devoted to his family. When his mother was in her 90’s he brought her from Vermont to live with them in Florida. After a stroke when she was 95, Nana went to live in a nursing home but Dad was there every day after work and on weekends to feed her until she passed in 2007.
Norma was ill for several years before her death in 2009. Dad lovingly cared for her until the end.
When he was 81, he married Sharon and after several years in Port Richey they moved to Homosassa.
He retired again when he was 87 but never slowed down. Four months after he retired, he was shingling the roof when the scaffolding collapsed taking him down with it, hyperextending a knee. Months of pins, surgeries, infections and rehab followed and for the first time in his life he had no choice but to sit still. Six months later he was back building decks, doing yard work and traveling.
In addition to his parents and wife, he was predeceased by his sister, Lucille Lyman, in 1997, two brothers-in-law, John Lyman in 1992, James Corcoran in 1993, and his son, Carl, in 2017. He is survived by his 2nd wife, Sharon, daughter Wanda Alter of MA, daughter-in-law Terri Smith of CT, five grandchildren: Sarah Amsden of KY, Justin Senatro of WA, Daniel Norwood of AZ, Dylan Bigge and Haylie Alter both of CT and Brenda Gordon, of Clearwater, who was like a daughter to him. He also leaves two stepsons Nicky (Laura) Aldridge of KY and Shannon Sidebottom of FL and ten step-grandchildren in FL and KY.
A military service will be held July 28, 2023 at 1 o’clock at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL.