Thompson William Smith (aka “Smitty” and “Bill Smith”) was born Feb. 1, 1943, in Flushing, N.Y. He was a musician, teacher, woodworker, adventurer, sailor, husband and friend. At the age of 77, he died Aug. 5, 2020.

As the youngest of three brothers, he grew up in Flushing. Upon graduating from Flushing High School in 1960, he attended Hope College in Holland, Mich.

Bill taught English and math at the Portage Northern High School in Portage, Mich., for four years. He then moved to Wayland, Mass., where he taught children with learning differences at the Carroll School in Lincoln. He also spent time doing woodworking in his shop.

In 1978, he married Sarah and they moved to Salem, Mass. They became active members of Salem’s Universalist Church. Bill continued to do cabinetwork and taught woodworking at the Tower School in Marblehead, Mass.

In 1980 they started a series of contra dances and founded and directed the Salem Country Dance Orchestra, where Sarah called the dances.

In 1999, Bill and Sarah bought a property on the Back Cove in Waldoboro, where they designed and built a house on the shore. When the house became habitable in 2003, they moved to Maine full-time.

In 2010, Bill and Sarah joined Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Belfast. They moved into their new home there in 2013 as engaged and passionate members of the co-housing community.

He never stopped learning and composing new songs, singing the old ones, leading community sings and teaching five-string banjo, and won many “Old Time” banjo contests.

Bill was a quietly charismatic leader with a commonsense approach to problem solving and an infectious “Let’s do this!” spirit. When his beloved Sarah passed away six months ago, he might have laid down the mantle of community leadership, but he did not. He carried on with style and grace and inspired us to be our best selves.

His final adventure was to The Forks for a rafting trip on the Kennebec River. The following day, Aug. 5, while floating down the gently flowing water of the Kennebec River on a rafting inner tube, he left us peacefully to rejoin Sarah.

Bill was predeceased by his wife, Sarah, his brother, Bob and by Lorraine, the wife of his surviving brother, Don. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Janet and Dan Rice, Bob and Maria Smith, Debbie Schneider, Karen and Frank Cottone, Carol and Ed Boyle, Don and Jennifer Smith; as well as many grand-nieces and grand-nephews, plus countless friends, musicians, woodworkers, singers, sailors, and fellow adventurers.

A celebration of T. William Smith’s life and music is tentatively planned for a time in the spring of 2021, providing that by then it will be safe to gather together again in music and fellowship. For a more complete obituary, go to: and search for T. William Smith.

Donations in memory of Bill may be made to either or both of the following nonprofit organizations:

(1) Belfast Flying Shoes, a dance and music entity that offers ongoing vibrant community outreach programs, including ones in which Bill regularly participated. To donate to Belfast Flying Shoes, go to and click on the “Make a Donation” button.

(2) The Sarah and Bill Smith Scholarship Fund at the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, Vt., a classical music camp that offers young musicians transformative experiences. The time Sarah spent at Kinhaven changed her life in a way for which both she and Bill remained ever grateful. To donate to Kinhaven, go to, click on “Make Your Gift Online,” and fill in the box “In Honor or Memory.”