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SMOTRICH, Dr. Michael H. 87, physicist, entrepreneur, lover of nature, the arts and life long learner, died peacefully on September 4, 2018, surrounded by his family after a lengthy illness.

Dr. Smotrich was born in Norwich, Connecticut. From an early age it was clear he had a deep curiosity about how all things in our world work. He conducted sophisticated experiments of his own making in his basement workshop. At the beginning of World War II, Mike was part of a Boy Scouts sponsored civil defense initiative. Along with other "spotters", Mike would ride his bike to the tallest building in Norwich and scour the sky from the roof for German planes. Air traffic sightings would be reported to a central command post. Mike never saw any German aircraft, but developed a love of airplanes. Later, Mike became one of the youngest Eagle Scouts - the highest achievement attainable in the Boy Scouts of America.

After graduating from Norwich Free Academy, he headed to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to pursue his lifelong passion for science and math. He enrolled in the Air Force ROTC's program and graduated with honors with a degree in Physics and went on to Columbia University where he received graduate and doctorate degrees, also in Physics.

He served with distinction in the United States Air Force. As a lieutenant, Mike was assigned to Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he worked on the developing space program. He frequently traveled to Virginia for rocket launches.

After the Air Force, Mike worked as a senior executive for AVCO Corporation, which focused on aerospace and defense, and oversaw many government contracts. He frequented and ran an Astrophysical project at the Haleakala Observatory on Maui in Hawaii. This work peaked his curiosity and interest in laser technology in the medical industry.

Dr. Smotrich's thirst for knowledge continued throughout his career. He completed a mid-career MBA executive program at Harvard University and continued as an accomplished scientist, developing an expertise in laser medical technologies. Dr. Smotrich was a pioneer in the medical laser Industry and has a number of patents for medical and cosmetic applications. He was a founding partner and then President of Palomar Medical Technologies, Inc., a medical and cosmetic laser technology firm, from which he retired as Chief Technology Officer. Dr. Smotrich worked closely with some of the leading medical institutions, such as the Wellman Laboratories at Massachusetts General Hospital, on the newest applications of laser technology. He was working on approaches for pain management right up until his illness.

Mike met his wife Carolyn of 59 years when she was a nursing student in Boston. The young couple lived in Boston following their honeymoon sailing off the Maine Coast. After their first child was born they moved to Andover. He and Carolyn eventually designed and built their family home. Although Mike traveled extensively for work, he made time for weekend ski trips, hiking in the White Mountains - climbing the Presidential Range, sailing and gardening with his family. Mike was an active volunteer for the Buddy Werner Race League (the local youth ski racing team) and could often be found timing at the finish line of races with his latest stopwatch. He passed on his passion for skiing, hiking and sailing to his children and grandchildren. Skiing with family and friends well into his 80's, Mike also completed two Boston Marathons. He was a gifted photographer and mostly loved photographing nature, his family and later in life his grandchildren.

Mike was an accomplished wood worker, rose gardener, and builder. Many of his creations are on the family property. Mike also loved art, the opera and the symphony. He began his lifelong love of the Boston Symphony when he attended concerts at Symphony Hall while a student at MIT.

Mike will be remembered as a true Renaissance Man. Many of his passions and interests throughout his life have been passed onto his children and grandchildren, ensuring his legacy.

Dr. Smotrich is survived by his wife Carolyn; his children, Carrie and her husband Tom Samoluk, and their two children, Caroline and Sarah of Andover; and Michael, and his two children, Grace and Evan of Winthrop.

A celebration of Dr. Smotrich's life for family and friends will be held on Sunday, September 16, 2018 from 2 to 4 pm (speaking program will begin at 2:15 pm with a reception to follow) at the Lanam Club, located at 260 North Main Street, Andover. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mike's name to: WBUR radio at wbur.org; the Boston Symphony Orchestra at bso.org; or the Appalachian Mountain Club at outdoors.org. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Burke-Magliozzi Funeral Home of Andover. For additional information, please visit,

Published in The Boston Globe on Sept. 9, 2018
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