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Alice Smith


1915 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Alice Smith Obituary
Alice Smith

1915 - 2015 Alice Newton Childs Smith, whose grandfather and great-uncles built the Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington Railroad in the late nineteenth century, died at Loomis Village in South Hadley, MA on Wednesday, Nov. 18. She was 100 years old. Born in Holyoke, MA on Jan. 20, 1915, Mrs. Smith was the daughter of Katharine (Ware) and Herbert B. Newton. Her father was a well-known paper manufacturer and the president of Newton Paper Co. in Holyoke. His father, Moses Newton, and three of Moses's brothers built the narrow-gauge railroad, known affectionately as the Hoot, Toot & Whistle, from the tunnel to Readsboro, VT, in 1885. Six years later, they extended the railroad to Wilmington. Mrs. Smith was also the granddaughter of Orrin Orlando Ware, owner of the O. O. Ware store in the center of Wilmington. She inherited from her parents a summer home on Lake Raponda, which she maintained until her death. After a year at Northampton School for Girls, where she won the school-wide math prize, Mrs. Smith attended Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y., graduating in 1932. At Vassar College (Class of 1936) she majored in French and afterwards worked in Northampton and later Boston for several years. In 1943, Mrs. Smith married Benjamin W. Childs, a prominent shoe merchant in Holyoke, who during the war served as a lieutenant at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Brunswick, ME. They had four daughters and were married for 38 years until his death in 1981. In 1993, she married William H. Smith of Longmeadow, who with his wife, Rosie, had been a longtime family friend. Bill, a former president of the Holyoke Savings Bank, died in 1999. The following year, Mrs. Smith moved to Loomis Village. She first became involved in public service in 1935 as a volunteer at Holyoke Hospital, now the Holyoke Medical Center. Mrs. Smith worked in the coffee shop and chaired the hospital's Follies fundraiser and also sang in the chorus. She was one of the six original Spinsters, who sponsored an annual dance for the benefit of the hospital and other groups. She joined the Junior League and later served as its president. After she and Ben Childs returned to Holyoke in 1945, Mrs. Smith again became active at the hospital, serving as chair of the Holyoke Hospital Aid Association. When Ben died, she completed his term as a hospital board member, after which she served a full term on her own. In 1993 she was named an honorary chairperson of the hospital's Centennial celebration. A lifelong member of United Congregational Church of Holyoke and active in its ministry, Mrs. Smith was also a volunteer and officer at many other Holyoke organizations, including the Girl Scouts, the Child Guidance Clinic (now the River Valley Counseling Center), the Holyoke Medical Center, the YWCA, and local fund-raising campaigns of the American Red Cross and the Community Chest. Throughout her life, Mrs. Smith was a major supporter of the Holyoke Public Library, serving as its president and more recently as honorary co-chair of the library's 2013 capital campaign, The Next 100 Years. In 1976, she was awarded the William G. Dwight Award for her work and commitment to the City of Holyoke. From the late 1950s until her death, she was a member of The Thursday Club, a literary group. Mrs. Smith was a great walker, especially during the summer months in Vermont; a lover of birds; a collector of antique furniture; and an avid tennis player, skier, and bridge player. Mrs. Smith's survivors include three daughters, Susan Childs Merrick (Frank) of Summit, N.J., Katharine Childs Jones of Arlington, MA, and Eliza Childs (Will Melton) of South Hadley. She is also survived by three stepdaughters: Gertrude Smith Juncker of Minneapolis, Minn., Rose Virginia Smith Cole of Portland, OR, and Cynthia H. Smith of Colorado Springs, CO. Mrs. Smith leaves seven grandchildren: Timothy D. Merrick of Ithaca, N.Y., Jocelyn C. Merrick of Haydenville, MA, Benjamin W. Merrick of Butler, N.J., Daniel S. Jones of Washington, D.C., William P. Melton of Cambridge, MA, Alice S. Melton of Minneapolis, Minn., and Cooper N. Melton of Catonsville, MD. She also leaves five great-granddaughters (Francesca, McKayla, Samantha, Natalie, and Lucille). Mrs. Smith was predeceased by her brother, William W. Newton, her daughter, Alice, and her grandson, James McCann Melton. SERVICES: There will be a memorial service at 11a.m. on Monday, Dec. 28, at the United Congregational Church of Holyoke in Skinner Memorial Chapel. In lieu of flowers, friends may make gifts in Mrs. Smith's honor to the Holyoke Public Library, the United Congregational Church of Holyoke, or a .The Dillon & Edward F. Day Funeral Home 124 Chestnut St. Holyoke, Ma. 01040 was entrusted with the arrangements.
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Dec. 3, 2015
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