John T. Smith, 86: Loved learning as much as teaching

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BRUNSWICK — John T. Smith, 86, died at his home in Brunswick on Oct. 21. He was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston, the son of Julia and Thomas Smith.

He was married to Emma (Stebbins) Smith for 64 years when she passed away in January 2010, they spent most of their lives in Brunswick.

Smith served in the Army Air Force during WWII from 1942 to 1945. During the war he was stationed in Iceland and England for 18 months. On his initial trip overseas his convoy was attacked by German submarines off the coast of Iceland in the area known as Torpedo Junction. On a return from R&R in England, the freighter he was on was pursued by two German subs near Reykjavick Harbor. The crew and passengers on board spent seven days sailing up the western coast of Iceland toward the Arctic Circle to avoid being torpedoed or captured.

After serving in the war he attended Hobart College graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English and American Studies. A year later he graduated from Boston University with a Master’s degree in English Literature. In 1958-59 he was awarded a John Hay Fellowship to Columbia University, one of 10 scholarships awarded to secondary school teachers in a nation-wide competition.

Smith was an English teacher at Brunswick High School for 35 years before retiring as the English Department Chairman in 1985. He and another Brunswick teacher, Robert hart, initiated the first Advanced Placement program in the state of Maine.

He loved spending time at camp on Lake Cobbossee in Winthrop with his friends and family.

Smith is survived by his daughter, Kit Cope and her husband Michael Cope of Sharon, Mass.; son, John Smith, who lived with and cared for him for the past year, and his wife Clara Smith of Hanover, Mass.; and by four grandchildren, Jeremy Cope of Washington D.C., Jason Cope of New York, N.Y., Stephanie Smith of Hanover Mass. and Rachel Smith of Durham, N.H.

Visiting hours were held Oct. 25 at Stetson’s Funeral Home in Brunswick. He was buried in the family lot at St. John’s Cemetery with military honors.

Donations in his memory can be made to the Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant St., Brunswick, Maine 04011. Memorial condolences may be expressed at www.stetsonsfuneralhome.com.

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