Passings: Captain Ben Smith


Monday, September 19, 2016
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Capt. Benjamin Smith
Ben Smith passed away on Aug. 31.

Benjamin Stevens Smith (1945-2016), an adventurous man of many talents, died August 31 in the comfort of his home and the arms of his beloved wife, Gretchen. He had a delight and wonder of the world that brightened every conversation. A magician, watercolor artist, captain of a research vessel, teacher of meditation, author, actor, architect, electrical, civil and software engineer, Ben had a joie de vivre that was enjoyed by many people around the world. He loved debate, was strongly opinionated, enjoyed a passion for quality rum, played harmonica, listened to all kinds of music and despite his sometimes-gruff persona was kind, patient and gentle. His favorite project was designing the interior of a Spray sailboat, Mother of Perl. He supervised its construction in Estonia and, with his family, sailed through the Baltic and the Caribbean.

Ben was born in Connecticut, completed high school in Arizona, served the military in Alaska and spent his last 30 years based in New Hampshire. He was captain of the R/V Gulf Surveyor for the University of New Hampshire when he died. He has one son, Johannes Reneau Smith, from his first marriage, and two stepchildren — Kristen and Thomas Forbes.  

A memorial service will be held at the Community Church of Durham, New Hampshire on Saturday, September 24, at 10:30 a.m. Flowers sent to Gretchen at any time in the coming year would be a welcome reminder of Ben.