George Francis Smith
NEWFANE - George Francis Smith was born in Freeport, NY, on May 12, 1947, the son of George and Rita Smith. George was the youngest of three and adored his sisters; he told stories of how he would bring home designer outfits for them from a summer job at a fashion house. As a child, he raised pigeons with his father and when on road trips, the pigeons would regularly beat them home.
George was a peaceful man and was a proud conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. This decision led him to choose a career so he went on to Boston College, where he was one of the first two students with long hair, another fact of which he was very proud. While there, George studied respiratory therapy and biology, a love stemming from a childhood of having various pets from lizards and snakes to guinea pigs and fish.
George chose his alternate service to help children and started his career at the Boston Floating Hospital for Children before moving north and settling in Vermont. There, he met Wendy Kerlin while working at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. He and Wendy traveled across the country and relocated to Oregon before George suffered an aneurysm and underwent brain surgery. They relocated back to Vermont to be with their extensive network of friends who are family. George and Wendy were married in 1981 and their first daughter, Leah, was born in September of that year. George and Wendy wanted to grow their family and were able to do so by adoption, adding six more children from both Vermont and Ethiopia. George and Wendy spent many years in their house on the hill with gardens and a big yard filled with laughter, friends, music, and great food. It was a place that so many would call home.
George was a man of many interests and hobbies. George loved to play guitar and bass; through the 1960s and the early 2000s he played with Morningsun and White Noise. George was a wealth of obscure music trivia and passed his love of music on to his entire family as well as his love of Cheez-Its. An avid bird watcher, George also enjoyed fishing in the streams of rural Vermont, where he loved catching trout.
George spent many years at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital as a well-loved and respected respiratory therapist. After retiring from BMH he spent many more years at the Brattleboro Food Co-op as the well-known “Cheese Guy” while making customers laugh with quite possibly the original dad jokes. George spent his remaining days in the good company of his close friends, former bandmate Gary, and his wife Melanie, swapping memories, playing guitar, watching shows together, eating Cheez-Its, and most of all, smiling with every day.
George is survived by his children Leah Lydon (Chris), Jesse Kerlin-Smith (Silvana), Joseph Kerlin-Smith (Sarita), Helen Kerlin-Smith, Elizabeth Kerlin-Smith, Anna Kerlin-Smith, and Taylor Kerlin-Smith; and grandchildren Lucas, Connor, Lucy, Romeo, Romello, Jaxon, and Charlotte. He also leaves behind his loving sisters, Rita and Susan, as well as countless nieces and nephews, and an extraordinary network of longtime friends. He will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched.
At the request of the family services for George will be private. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Wounded Warriors Project, c/o Covey-Allen & Shea Funeral Home, PO Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363. To send personal condolences visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.