SOUTH HADLEY - Edward Henry Smith, 89, formerly of South Hadley, passed away peacefully Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, at Baystate Medical Center, surrounded by his family.
Born Dec. 22, 1924, in Holyoke, he was the son of the late Raymond A. Smith and Hildegarde (Sussenguth) Smith. He grew up in Holyoke, and attended Holyoke public schools, graduating from Holyoke High School in 1942.
He moved to South Hadley in 1956 and lived there until 2012, when he moved to Loomis House in Holyoke. Ed and Martha spent their winters in Naples, Fla., and summers in Dennis.
Ed attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute on the V12 Navy Officer Candidate program earning a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. While at W.P.I. he played goalie for the soccer team.
After serving in the Navy on the U.S.S. Cleveland, he went to work for the Holyoke Valve and Hydrant Company of Holyoke, where he rose to the position of vice president of the fire sprinkler division. In 1967 Ed started his own fire sprinkler company, Smith Automatic Sprinkler. In 1972 he founded H.F.P. Fire Sprinkler Company, an open, merit shop company. He also founded Dennis Fire Protection Supply Company and New Ludlow Associates. Over the years, H.F.P. grew to offices in western Massachusetts, eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida. H.F.P. became one of the largest fire sprinkler contractors in the country. In 1980, Ed was an instrumental force in the founding of the American Fire Sprinkler Association, whose mission is to train the best fire sprinkler technicians in the industry, and educate the public on the importance of fire sprinklers in protecting people and property, so that one day, not one life would be needlessly lost in a fire. Today, the A.F.S.A. is the largest sprinkler association of its kind. In 1995, Ed was awarded A.S.F.A.'s highest honor, the Henry S. Parmelee Award, recognizing him as one of the leading pioneers of the Fire Sprinkler Industry, which will remain forever changed because of his great passion for and dedication to the development of the entire industry. Ed was also named the Fire Sprinkler Person of the Year by, "Fire Protection Contractor Magazine".
Ed was a charter member of Saint Peters' Lutheran Church in Holyoke, where he was the congregation's first president. Though he worked tirelessly at work, his faith and his church always came first. He always ran his business based on Christian ethics and passed that along to his children and employees. Ed was a long time member of the South Hadley Lions Club and the Holyoke Lodge of Elks.
Ed is survived by his wife of 64 years, Martha L. (Beatty) Smith; his daughter Donna Viola and her husband Jack of South Hadley; son David Smith and his wife Suzanne of Sandwich; son Gary Smith and his wife Patty of Seneca, S.C.; and daughter Bonnie Smith of Watertown. He is also survived by his sisters Shirley Meagher and her husband Bob, and Carol Handler; six grandchildren and their spouses, Brad Viola (Kellie), Katie Downey (Matt), Jed Smith (Claire), Jennifer Smith, Jason Smith (Sarah), and Jeremy Smith; as well as three great-grandchildren, John and Megan Viola and Gavin Downey; his niece Cathy Smith-Cherkerzian and nephew Scott Smith; as well as several great-nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his brother Raymond A. Smith, Jr., (2004) and his granddaughter Cori Viola (1978).
The funeral will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Peters' Lutheran Church, 34 Jarvis Avenue, Holyoke, followed by his burial in Forestdale Cemetery in Holyoke.
Calling hours will be Friday from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Ryder Funeral Home in South Hadley.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Peters' Lutheran Church.
The family would like to thank the nurses and staff of the Loomis House for their dedicated and compassionate care.
To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to www.gazettenet.com/obituaries.