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Thomas N. Smith

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Thomas N. Smith Obituary

Thomas N. Smith passed away on November 21, 2013. Tom was born in Hartford in 1937. He was the son of the late Alton Norris and Harriett (Coburn) Smith. He was proudly raised in Manchester. He was an active and popular fellow all through his school years. Though he was an only child, he had many first cousins. Tom was a top student. In high school, Class of 1955, at Manchester High School, he played baseball, football, and track and was a member of a state ranked swim team. He went to UCONN for four years on scholarship and swam for UCONN in his freshman year. He was a member of Theta Xi fraternity and was nominated to "Who's Who Among American Universities and Colleges." Also, at UCONN, he was a member of the Student Senate, The Student University Relations Committee and the Goodwill Committee. During his senior year, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1959, with a major in English with honors. Tom went on to the Univ. of Illinois. He was a graduate student there and earned a M.A. in English in 1961. When he found out there was a newly created PhD program in English at UCONN, he returned to his CT roots. When he came back to UCONN, he reconnected with his future wife and the love of his life, Sheila (Shelly) McClench Smith. She was employed by the U.S. Air Force in Wiesbaden, Germany as a Kindergarten Teacher. Tom joined her in 1962 and they were married in Basel, Switzerland. They returned to CT, where Tom continued his studies. He received his PhD in 1966. Tom and Shelly taught in Fairbanks, Alaska for several years, and then returned to CT to teach for the remainder of his career. He taught at UCONN, U of Alaska and the longest at U of Hartford, from where he retired in 2009. He specialized in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. He created a Humanities course for U of Hartford's engineering students; it later became an all university curriculum course. One of Tom's proudest moments was his participation in the 1963 march on Washington. Tom enjoyed traveling and music more than anything in his life. His love of music he shared with his wife, his children and grandson, Max. In his early twenties, Tom met with some of the world's greatest jazz musicians in Newport and was asked to "sit-in" with them, though a hand injury forced him to refuse. His storytelling, laughter and passion will be forever missed by all who knew him. He loved his students, his family and his friends dearly. Tom is survived by his wife, Sheila (Shelly) McClench Smith of New Hartford; his son, Ian Spenser Smith of Simsbury; his daughter, Jessica Erin Smith of New Hartford who will miss her favorite dance partner and his grandson, Max, also of New Hartford. Friends may call on Friday, November 29, 2013 at Montano-Shea Funeral Home, 5 Steele Rd. New Hartford from 3 - 5 PM. The family requests that friends bring stories and cherished memories of Tom to share at 5 PM. Visit an online guestbook at Montano-shea.com.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Nov. 23, 2013
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