With courage, dignity and wry humor to the end, Frederick Hewitt Smith, 67, of Natick, MA, passed away on November 18, surrounded by his loving family and friends, after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
In 1980, Fred married Princeton classmate Lisa Char of Honolulu, Hawaii. They raised three children: Matthew, Katharine (recently married to Chris Schvarcz), and Timothy. Family was the center of Fred’s life; their children, with their many talents and achievements, were his pride and joy.
Fred loved the outdoors and was an accomplished mountaineer. After graduating in 1975, Fred and three college friends spent six weeks trekking across the Alaskan wilderness and climbing Denali, the tallest peak in North America. In recent years, Fred took enormous pleasure in leading Appalachian Mountain Club hikes and ski touring adventures, mostly in northern New England, but also in the American West and the European Alps. His many hikes, whether in his beloved Vermont, nearby New Hampshire, or in Hawaii, were highlights of his weekend and vacation times.
Born to Frederick and Marjorie Smith, Fred grew up in Burlington, Vermont. Fred had an enormous range of interests, from science to music to literature and poetry. Someone once said, “He was the only kid I ever knew who actually read every edition of Popular Mechanics from cover to cover.” Later in life, he was known to recite couplets of 17th c. poetry, his favorite verses of "Prufrock" or all fifteen stanzas of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” at the drop of a hat. He found great happiness in singing, whether accompanied by his guitar, CD or radio, or a capella with his children and wife during long car rides.
Before Princeton, Fred attended Phillips Academy in Andover, MA; after college, he earned an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College. Over the years, he served as the financial officer for several small entrepreneurial companies, most recently taking great satisfaction in his contributions to VS2, a data security software start-up. Along with his raw talent, Fred brought the highest of ethical standards and personal commitment to every endeavor.
In addition to his family, Fred is survived by four siblings: Susan Smith Faith and husband Rogan of Anchorage, AK; Sybil Smith and husband Donald of Wellesley, MA; Peter Smith and wife Letitia Chambers of Santa Fe, NM; and Charles Smith and wife Amy Mellencamp of Burlington, VT. He will also be missed by his many nieces and nephews, and by his in-laws Bruce Char and wife Nancy Bannister-Char, and Cynthia Char and husband Peter Gilbert.
A service of celebration and remembrance will be held on December 12 at 2 pm at the Wellesley Village Church, 2 Central St., Wellesley, MA, with a celebratory collation to follow. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Fred’s memory may be made to Massachusetts General Hospital's Tucker Gosnell Center at giving.massgeneral.org, specifically designated for the Gastrointestinal Cancer Fund; or to the Appalachian Mountain Club, 10 City Square, Suite 2, Boston, MA 02129, https://www.outdoors.org.
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