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Kenneth Burton Smith

Obituary Condolences

Kenneth Burton Smith Obituary
Kenneth Burton Smith

Kenneth Burton Smith, aged 93, passed away August 3, 2014 after a short illness. At the time of his death, he was residing at the Country House of Wilmington, Delaware.

Ken Smith was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1921, the son of Rose Marie (Largesse) Smith and Axel Vaino Smith. He was preceded in death by his sisters Barbara (Smith) Robbins of Newington, Connecticut and June (Smith) LaPrade of Rindge, New Hampshire, and his brother Howard Smith of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Ken grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and graduated from Fitchburg High School. In 1941 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Brazil during World War II, where he served as a flight mechanic on Martin PBM Mariner seaplanes. He served proudly in Navy Patrol Bomber Squadron 212. Towards the end of the war he was selected to train as a pilot, and began his studies at Stephens Technical Institute in Hoboken, NJ. He was honored to be part of the airborne escort that accompanied the fleet as far as Recife Brazil in "Operation Torch" for the North African invasion. He received his honorable discharge in 1945, and entered Brown University as part of the G.I. Bill. In January of 1946 he married Geneva Elder of West Medway, Massachusetts, and they lived in "Brown Town" in Providence while he earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He completed the degree and graduated in 1947. Geneva "Jan" and Ken moved to Clarence, New York where he was employed as an engineer at Spaulding Fiber Company of Buffalo, New York. There, Jan and Ken started their family and built their home. They enjoyed their life in Clarence and had many enduring friendships with other young married couples also building their homes in the post-war time.

In 1965 Ken and his family moved to Wilmington, Delaware where he was employed with NVF and later Whitco Chemical and Halby Chemical Company. He lived in Wilmington for the rest of his life, working as a project engineer for other companies, including Scott Paper Company and DuPont. He enjoyed a fast game of tennis, good books (especially P.G. Wodehouse), woodworking, and vacations on Cape Cod. Many will remember his Saturday morning social hours- "coffee klatches", which were attended by many neighbors on a regular basis, and where everyone enjoyed lots of laughs and Jan's home-made blueberry muffins. He retired in 1991and until the most recent few months, lived at home.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years Geneva (Elder) Smith, and his two daughters and their families: Nancy Smith and her husband Robert Seyfert and his son Tim Seyfert of Cary, NC, and Alison Smith and her husband Bernhard Dirska and their daughter Elizabeth Dirska (of Silver Lake, OH). He also leaves his nieces and nephews and their families: Janet (Robbins) Niederfringer of Wilbraham, MA, Barbara (LaPrade) Forget of Rindge NH, Beverly LaPrade of Winchendon, MA, Susan (LaPrade) Brissette of Hillsboro, NH, Rose (LaPrade) Seymour of Ashby, MA, Kathy LaPrade of Brookline, NH, Michael LaPrade of Ashby, MA and Norman LaPrade of New Ipswich, NH.

Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE. The family will receive visitors at the church from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Interment will be held following the service at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear, Delaware.

In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations in his name to a .

Online condolences visit:

Published in The News Journal on Aug. 5, 2014
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