Richard E. Smith, 71, former Addison County entrepreneur
EAST DOVER — Richard E. Smith (known to many as Rik, Dick Smith or “Poor”), a resident of Locust Heights, East Dover, Vt., passed at the young age of 71, on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, at the Southwestern VT Medical Center in Bennington. At his side was his loving wife Marylou, their children and many grandchildren.
Rik was born in New Haven, Conn., on June 14, 1948, to the late Frank and Marie Smith of East Dover, Vt. At the age of five, his family moved to the Mt. Snow area where they owned and ran The Alp-Hof ski lodge. He was influenced by Vermont’s beauty and developed a passion for skiing, a love for the outdoors and a respect for nature.
Rik attended Northfield Mt. Hermon, then graduated from The Tilton School, in Tilton, N.H. After being drafted by the Army in 1968 and serving a tour in Korea, he exited the military and continued his education, graduating from Middlebury College. During this time, he started his first of many businesses, Poor Richard’s Corner Store in Bristol.
Truly an entrepreneur at heart, his drive for adventure would lead him from sandwich making in Monkton, Vt., to becoming a skilled wood turner for nine years at Woodbury’s of Shelburne, to running concessions at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. He lived in Fletcher, Vt., during these years, where he spent the first year living in a series of tents while building his house and skiing any chance he could. His passion for food service eventually led to a partnership at Togo’s Restaurant (later known as The Hungry Bear) in Vergennes, Vt. There he lived and ran the business from behind the oven for many years before hanging up his apron for retirement. Upon retirement he moved back to East Dover with Marylou and together they built their dream home around the simple pleasures of country living.
Rik was a man of many talents: an impressive skier, a woodsman, a chef, a skilled tennis player (as well as table tennis), a collector, a zealous reader, a survivalist and master gardener. He rarely needed much as he found fulfillment in activities such as hiking, canoeing, camping, history, horticulture and watching wildlife. His marriage to Marylou Rader in 1997 resulted in the joining of two families that brought him three grateful step-children and eventually four more beautiful step-grandchildren.
He always was an avid gardener during the spring and summer months, and before his retirement, would spend many days of winter skiing on his favorite trails, “Paradise” at Mad River Glen and “Robin’s Run” at Smugglers Notch. In East Dover he enjoyed the peace and quiet of reading, finishing crossword puzzles, working on his house and challenging all takers at cribbage. His quirky and deep intellectual insights inspired, influenced and uplifted those around him.
Rik leaves his wife Marylou Smith of East Dover; his brother Ronald L. Smith and Susan of Friendship, Maine; his two sons Christopher B. Smith and wife Suzanne of Montpelier, Vt., and Thatcher S. Smith and wife Jennifer of Plymouth, Mass.; his four grandchildren; his three step-children Melissa Gay of East Middlebury, Vt., Stephanie McNeely and husband Robert of Natural Bridge, N.Y. and Matt Gay and wife Chris Palagonia of Fairfax, Vt., plus four step-grandchildren, along with many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.
May he rest in Peace. The service will be held at Mountain View Cemetery in West Dover, Vt., on Sept. 7 at 11:30 a.m. A gathering will follow the service at the residence in East Dover. If you would like to share a memory we encourage you to visit sheafuneralhomes.com. If desired, donations in his name can be sent to The Nature Conservancy or Habitat for Humanity, c/o Covey-Allen & Shea Funeral Home P.O. Box 215 Wilmington, VT 05363.◊