November 1, 2023
Roderick W. Smith “Rod” died peacefully at his home on Sunday October 29th, at the age of 89. He was a longtime resident of Hingham, where he spent 61 years in the Crow Point neighborhood.
He was born on a record-breaking -17-degree day in his parents’ home in Dorchester to the late Joseph E. and Margaret M (McPhee) Smith on December 29, 1933. Rod was raised in Dorchester and attended the Boston Public Schools, graduating in the class of 1951 of Hyde Park High School (HPHS), where he played basketball and baseball. At HPHS he met the love of his life, Carol A. (Gibson); as high school sweethearts, they went to their proms together and then went on to be married for 68 years.
Rod went on to study at Suffolk University on a basketball scholarship. He interrupted his education to serve in the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Fort Myers in Arlington, VA as a member of the 3rd infantry regiment “The Old Guard”, the oldest active-duty military regiment in the U.S.
After being discharged, Rod continued his education, graduating from Suffolk University in 1957 with a bachelor’s in psychology. He then continued to Boston University for his MDE, which he received in 1958. He started his career as a substitute teacher in the Chinatown area of Boston, then he went on to teach in a Medway elementary school. In 1960 he moved to the Braintree school system as a Guidance Counselor for the elementary schools, Jr. High school and the 9th Grade. While in Braintree he also coached baseball. After 10 years in Braintree, Rod then moved on to the Norwood school system; first as Director of Guidance, then Director of Pupil Personnel Services and finally as Assistant Superintendent of schools until he retired 24 years later.
Rod made a significant impact in the lives of his students. Notably, in Braintree he co-founded a youth center with a local priest and a local minister. This youth center’s primary focus was to provide education and counseling for adjudicated boys. Eventually this youth center became the Pilgrim Center. In collaboration with the Archdiocese, the Pilgrim Center evolved into a residential therapeutic educational facility. During Rod’s tenure in Norwood, he co-founded the Post-Prom Party, which created a safe, fun and activity-filled space for students to go to after the prom. It was the first-of its kind around the Metro-West region, and its model has been copied by numerous towns all over the State ever since. Additionally in Norwood, Rod was instrumental in developing the special education program, which he was very passionate about.
Rod was an avid golfer; he learned the game and honed his skills while a member at Ponkapoag Golf Course, later he became a member of the South Shore Country Club for many years where he was a well-known and beloved member of the community. He enjoyed time spent with family, who lovingly dubbed him the “grill master”. He was a Boston sports fan and even held season tickets to the New England Patriots for many years. Rod and his wife, along with friends, did quite a bit of traveling to many parts of the United States and Canada.
Rod’s compassion, great sense of humor and loving nature will be missed dearly by his family and many friends.
Rod’s great love was his family. He was the beloved husband of 68 years to Carol A. Smith (Gibson) of Hingham. Devoted father to Roderick E. Smith of Hingham, Valerie DeCarlo and her husband Robert of NC, Douglas W. Smith BFD and his wife Andrea of Weymouth, and Allison Smith and her significant other Joseph Lane of Cohasset. Cherished grandfather to Derrick Smith and his wife Adrian, Elyse Kelly, Ryan Smith, Stephanie Ferrari and her husband Craig, and Tyler Smith. Great-grandfather to Abigail, Avery, Emelia, and Oliver. Predeceased by his siblings, Lorraine O’Keefe and Joseph Smith, and his cousin Walter Thomas Bradley Jr.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to greet the family during the visiting hours on Monday, November 6th, from 4-8 PM in the Pyne Keohane Funeral Home, 21 Emerald St. (off Central St.), HINGHAM. A Celebration of Life Service will be held in the funeral home at 9:15 AM on Tuesday, November 7th, prior to the Funeral Mass in St. Paul’s Church, Hingham at 10 AM. Burial in Hingham Cemetery, Hingham.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Roderick may be made to Norwell Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice, 120 Longwater Drive, Norwell, MA 02061 or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).