Robert W. Smith, 86: Cape attorney, committed to civic duty

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Robert Wallace “Bob” Smith, 86, died peacefully at Village Crossings on March 10 after a long illness.

Born in Hanover, N.H. on July 28, 1923, he was the eldest of three sons of Robert Whitelaw and Mary Jane (Wallace) Smith.

He grew up in White River Junction, Vt., in a neighborhood surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles.

After enrolling at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. in 1942, he interrupted his studies to enlist in the U.S. Army during World War II.

He was assigned to the Tenth Mountain Division as a “soldier on skis,” and trained at Camp Hale, Colo., before serving in the Italian Alps. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and earned Infantry and Combat medals, as well as an Army Achievement Citation for leading troops into battle.

In 1940, he met Henrietta R. “Hen” Sharpe during a high school dance. They corresponded throughout the war and were married Aug. 25, 1945, in Woodstock, Vt.

After the war, he returned to Hamilton College, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1949. In 1952 he received his law degree from Harvard Law School and moved to Maine to work as an attorney for Union Mutual Life Insurance Company in Portland.

In the late 1960s until his retirement, he practiced law as a partner with the Portland firm that would become Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios, LLP.

Active in his community, he served in local government, including several terms as a Cape Elizabeth Town Councilor, and on the Planning Board.

He also served on the Maine Medical Center Board of Corporators for 45 years.

Education was very important to him and he and his wife moved to Cape Elizabeth in 1961 so their two children, Martha and Rob, could attend Cape schools. They lived in Cape Elizabeth for the next 46 years before moving to Village Crossings three years ago.

His happiest times were spent cruising on Casco Bay on his Chris Craft, the “Romar,” spending time at his cottage on Sebago Lake, or skiing at Pleasant Mountain or Sunday River with family and friends.

He often said he never could have accomplished so much without the love and support of his wife Henrietta throughout their 64 years of marriage.

A gentle man with a strong moral compass, he had a special way of connecting with people and making them feel good about themselves.

He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather.

He was predeceased by his brother John.

Survivors include his wife Henrietta of Cape Elizabeth; his daughter Martha Jones of Windham; his son Robert R. Smith and his wife Chessell McGee of Cumberland Foreside; four grandchildren, Jared and Alyssa Jones, and Elizabeth and Reid Smith; his brother David E. Smith and his wife Priscilla; sisters-in-law Pauline Sawyer and Eleanor Fraleigh and her husband John; numerous nieces and nephews;  and cousins.

Memorial services were held earlier this week.

Arrangements are by Hobb’s Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Memorial donations, if desired, can be made to a favorite charity of choice.

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