Patrick M. L. Smith was born in Boston on May 2, 1950, and completed the circle of life there on July 2, 2021. Although surprisingly asymptomatic for most of his life, Patrick was diagnosed with a rare genetic heart condition called end-stage non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. After an epic 26-day struggle in the ICU at Tufts, and despite extraordinary support from the medical team, family, and a battalion of well-wishers, he drew his last breath with his adoring wife Bet by his side. He was a good man who lived a good life without regret.
He was also a complex person: private, creative, articulate, pensive, smart, loyal, insightful, valiant, skeptical, whimsical, self-effacing, introverted, funny, grateful, honest, sensitive, handsome, and generous; a jack of all trades, a master of repartee, and an insatiably inquisitive daydreamer.
Patrick grew up in New Canaan, CT and London, England, and then wandered around before settling down in Danielson and Woodstock CT. On several occasions, he arrived where he started and knew the place for the first time. After attending the Protracted School (eventually graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in Anthropology), Patrick worked at many jobs, and many other jobs, including commercial fishing, construction, and belaboring the point.
Patrick married Claudia Vincenti in 1984, but was widowed in 2008. In 2010, he rescued the widowed Bet Zimmerman of Woodstock. They eloped during the 2013 summer solstice.
Patrick enjoyed the life of the mind, roses, puttering, antiques, photography, good conversation, music, ice skating, grocery shopping, reading the Oxford English Dictionary, dancing in the kitchen, watching sunsets and the stars, and observing wildlife. Patrick and Bet teamed up to conserve 100 acres in Woodstock, working hard to turn 30 of those acres at The Fen into sustainable wildlife habitat. He invented a raccoon and bobcat-resistant nesting box for Wood Ducks. He also ate sour grapes and drank life to the lees.
After shifting commas around for years, the wordSmith published a memoir entitled Leaving the Life in 2013, and a thriller Leaving Fire in 2020. He also wrote traditional rhyming poetry which has never been published in The New Yorker.
Patrick’s parents Marjorie Lynch and Vincent Robinson Smith, Jr. hailed from Greensburg, PA. His heartbroken siblings are Alexandra Smith Homes and Catharine Turney Stultz of Charlotte NC; Marjorie Lowry Maclean (Putnam) of Marshfield MA; Richardson Culver Smith of Little Compton RI; and Vincent Robinson Smith III (Marty) of Woodruff SC. He also leaves behind good friends, Bet’s family, 10 nieces and nephews, along with 10 grandnieces and nephews, two of whom came into the world as Patrick fought in the hospital.
In lieu of flowers, those who would like to make a difference in Patrick’s honor can make a donation to Roseland Park, www.roselandpark.org, 205 Roseland Park Road, Woodstock CT 06281, or to Day Kimball Hospice & Palliative Care @ www.daykimball.org.
An informal celebration of Patrick’s life will be held in Roseland Park, 205 Roseland Park Rd., Woodstock, CT 06281 at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 14, 2021, followed by a casual repast. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Gilman Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Church St, Putnam, CT. For memorial guestbook, please visit www.GilmanandValade.com.