Colvin W. Smith, 62, Was Accomplished Engineer
Colvin Whitney Smith, 62, died on Sept. 25. He suffered from pulmonary fibrosis.
Mr. Smith was born in Providence, R.I., son of the late Ethel Oldfield Smith and Roland C. Smith. He was also the devoted stepson of the late Winfield S. Smith of 2 Lake avenue, a longtime employee of the Vineyard Gazette.
Mr. Smith began his summer visits to the Island in the early 1950s and worked every summer while a student at various occupations: pin setter at the old Jones Bowling Alley, lifeguard at the Pay Beach and short-order cook at the Edgartown Cafe and the Pit Stop. Mr. Smith learned to sail in the Oak Bluffs harbor, when it was much less busy than it is today. He met his wife, the former Judith Gagner, when they were both summer visitors. They returned each season with their children while his stepfather and mother were still alive.
In 1958, as a senior at East Providence High School, Mr. Smith was the Rhode Island state wrestling champion in the 157-pound weight class. He was an avid reader, gardener, naturalist and sailor. He loved to travel and enjoyed studying the geology of each area that he visited. He was keenly interested in politics, current events, science and history, and spent many hours reading from his extensive library of books and periodicals on these topics.
Mr. Smith was a 1966 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where he was awarded a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He began his 35-and-a-half year career with Bethlehem Steel in July 1966. After completing its loop training program in Bethlehem, Pa., he was assigned to the steelmaking division of the Lackawanna, N.Y., plant. He was transferred to the Sparrows Point, Md., plant in 1983 after the closing of the Lackawanna plant. He retired on Jan. 31 of this year.
Through his work at Bethlehem Steel, Mr. Smith held seven U.S. patents for processes that he developed for improving the efficiency of his division's operations. These included techniques he developed for recycling and reusing byproducts of the steelmaking process. He was awarded Bethlehem Steel's Excellence in Environmental Achievement award in 1995. Recycling was a particular interest of Mr. Smith. While chairman of the environment board of the village of Hamburg, N.Y., in the mid 1970s, he spearheaded a program of household recycling which culminated in the village implementing one of the first curbside recycling programs in the country. For these efforts he was awarded the Hamburg Jaycees' Distinguished Service Award in 1976.
Mr. Smith was a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he was stationed at Fort Bliss, Tex., for one year before serving as company clerk in Mannheim, Germany, for two years. He was a member and past commander of the American Legion Post 25 in Catonsville, Md.
He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Iron and Steel Engineers Society and the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs.
His beloved wife, Judith C. Smith, five children and two grandchildren survive him. His sons are Aaron R. Smith of Baltimore, Nathan G. Smith of Kensington, Md., and Adam G. Smith of Stockbridge, Vt. His daughters are Jennifer S. Mazarr of Arlington, Va., and Aimee L. Smith of Cambridge. Grandsons are Alexander J. Mazarr and Theodore A. Mazarr. Sons in law are Michael J. Mazarr and Anton Van der Ven. He is survived also by one brother, R. Lee Smith, and his wife, Barbara Smith, of Penobscot, Me., formerly of Vineyard Haven, and 12 nieces and nephews. One niece, Elizabeth Durkee, and one nephew, Steven Dandeneau, are residents of Oak Bluffs.
A memorial service was held in Catonsville on Oct. 5. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Mount Saint Joseph High School Scholarship Fund, 4403 Frederick Ave., Baltimore, MD 21229.