Smith, Roderick L.
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Roderick (Rod) Smith, 91, died peacefully in the very early hours of December 26, 2013. He was the husband of the late Dorothy Stempel Smith. A longtime resident of Stratford, Connecticut, Mr. Smith was originally from the town of Richford, Vermont. He was the son of Glenna and J. Malcolm Smith. Roderick is survived by a daughter, Cynthia and her husband Michael Kinney of Fairfield, CT, a son, John M. Smith and his wife Shirley of Topeka, Kansas and a son, Roderick L. Smith and his wife Nanette of Alameda, California. In addition, he is survived by five grandchildren: Erin Kinney Bodnovich, Christopher M. Kinney, Stephen L. Kinney, Juliane G. Smith, Brandon R. Smith and five great grandchildren: Mia and Jack Kinney, Henry and Charles Kinney and Lenore Dorothy Bodnovich.
Roderick grew up on a dairy farm in Richford and excelled in academics, skiing and baseball. He graduated from Richford High School in 1938 and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Vermont where he majored in electrical engineering. In 1942, Rod moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut and worked for Chance Vought Aircraft until he was inducted into the Army-Air Force in December of 1945. In 1946, he and Dorothy were married. After an honorable discharge from the Army, Rod accepted an engineering position with Sikorsky Aircraft in 1948.
During his career at Sikorsky, Rod worked as project engineer on a number of helicopter programs including the S-59 and the HR25-1W. Most notable was the S-60 program for which he was chief project engineer. The S-60, known as the "Flying Crane", was a helicopter of a revolutionary design which allowed the crew to fly the aircraft while handling and transporting cargo. Rod completed his career as engineering manager on the S-65 and the air Force HH-53B.
Throughout his life, Rod continued his love of sports. He played baseball on the Sikorsky Team and as a lifetime member of the YMCA, he played racquetball well into his retirement years. He and "Dot" were avid gardeners and together they created extraordinary floral landscapes at their summer place on Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont.
Rod was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. He is missed by all who knew him. The family extends thanks to his caregiver, Eva, to the staff at Spring Meadows in Trumbull, Connecticut where Rod lived for four years and also to the staff of Legend at Capital Ridge in Topeka, Kansas where he resided the last year of his life.
At 9 o'clock on the morning of August 15, a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit on the campus of Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Avenue, Fairfield, CT. Mr. Smith was previously cremated in Topeka. At a later date, Mr. Smith's ashes will be interred privately in St. John Cemetery. Arrangements have been entrusted to Pistey Funeral Home in Stratford, CT.
Pistey Funeral Home Inc
2155 Main St Stratford, CT 06615
Published in Connecticut Post on Aug. 10, 2014