FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Samuel Maitland Smith, beloved grandfather and father, passed away on Aug. 30, 2013, in Flagstaff, after a sudden decline due to complications from myelofibrosis, a bone marrow disorder.
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Sam was born April 27, 1942, to Dorothy (Weeks) Smith and Forrest Asa Smith in Laconia, N.H.
He grew up on a farm on Morrill Street in Gilford, N.H., surrounded by numerous cousins. While attending Laconia High School, the Smith house was the main gathering place for meals and games for his football teammates and so many others. He was also known for throwing parties, some of such ridiculous magnitude that they are still talked about today. He earned his bachelor's degree from University of New Hampshire. He worked briefly as a high school teacher before joining the U.S. Army. His military service took him to Korea where he worked as a law clerk. While there he met and married Hung Nyo Yu.
On his return to New Hampshire, he began working for New England Telephone, first as an outside plant engineer and then as right of way agent. In connection with his work, he became a justice of the peace. He was delighted that this allowed him to marry several of his friends. He was a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America. He was a volunteer with the United Way. He was well known for his practical jokes and problem solving. Sam loved his work, and served as senior right of way agent for New England Telephone Company/Verizon for many years, traveling throughout the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. He will be remembered by his coworkers, as well as many happy land owners, for his integrity and sense of humor with all he had served. Sam was still telling telephone company stories in his final weeks.
Sam was a devoted, although unconventional father. He instilled in his children a voracious love of books. He drove his girls to innumerable dance practices and music lessons. Although he was never an aficionado of classical music, musical theater, or field hockey, he never missed a concert, play, performance, or sporting event. He was also known for his kindness to his daughters' peers - whether they were punks or honors students they all got a smile, endless conversation and a mix tape. He saw one of his daughters through Dartmouth College and the other through medical school at the University of Arizona.
For the last 15 years, Sam made his home with his daughter Esther and her family. He was a devoted grandfather, and with his granddaughters, he expanded from reading stories to weaving them. Using his most beloved childhood memories, his granddaughters starred in his recounting. On his visits to California, board games with Grampy were major events with his grandsons.
Sam had recently returned from a trip to New Hampshire to visit with his brother, Nathan, and his family. He was lucky enough to have been surrounded by friends and family for what would be a two-week farewell visit.
Memories of car horns that moo, sombreros worn for mowing the lawn, frogs in space, rambling drives on the back roads of New Hampshire and so much more will be celebrated by his daughters, Esther Smith and Rebecca Owens; his loving sons-in-law Eric Snider and David Owens and grandchildren Willow and Rowan Snider and Andrew and Peter Owens.
Published in Union Leader on Oct. 10, 2013