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Benjamin Smith

October 3, 1926 ~ March 16, 2024 (age 97) 97 Years Old
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Benjamin Smith Obituary

Benjamin Smith, October 3, 1926–March 16, 2024

Benjamin Smith, of Newton, MA, passed away peacefully of natural causes on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at the age of 97. He was a devoted husband to Shera M. Smith (née Colmes) and beloved father of Lisa Joy Smith (Chidlowsky).

Ben grew up in Bangor, Maine. His parents, Simon (Shmuel) Smith and Jennie (Shandel) (née Gopin), were Jewish immigrants from pre-revolutionary Russia/Poland who ran a family farm raising cattle. Ben grew up hearing Polish and Yiddish spoken in the home. His younger brother Sidney helped with the family farm. Ben graduated from Bangor High School in 1944, where he was jitterbug champion. Soon after, he was drafted into the army and spent two years in the U.S. military, stationed in Mindanao, during the retaking of the Philippine Islands, helping to establish peace after the defeat of the Japanese. After VJ Day was declared, he continued to serve, in the Army Baseball League, touring as a pitcher throughout the islands.

After his honorable discharge in 1946, he attended NYU and studied business and pre-law, pledging alpha sigma chi, a Jewish fraternity. He was athletic and participated in a variety of sports during college, including basketball and baseball. After graduation, he moved to Boston to attend Boston University School of Law. There he met Shera when she was an undergraduate, one of the few women studying in the School of Public Relations. They graduated together in 1955 and were married later that year. After one year living in Bangor, Maine, they moved permanently to the Boston area, close to Shera’s parents.

Ben began to practice law with private attorneys and later joined the National Labor Relations Board Boston office, where he would spend more than thirty years of his career. During that time, he traveled throughout New England mediating labor disputes and helping employees to hold elections on whether to unionize. He enjoyed relationships with his colleagues and the opportunity to travel to diverse communities. In his spare time, he relished shopping for collectible items for their home, showing his flair for unique décor and antique furnishings.

In 1966, they adopted their daughter Lisa, and in 1971, moved to Newton. As a family, they took trips to Asia, Israel, England, Mexico, and the Caribbean. He and his wife were very active in Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brandeis, and Temple Israel of Boston. Throughout their life, continued to travel and by air and cruise ship, visiting many countries and continents, from Australia to Antarctica to China. They always said that travel broadens the mind. The family frequently attended concerts, theatre, and films and had an active social life. Ben was an avid fan of Boston sports teams and followed current events very closely. Dining out was a favorite activity, and for holidays such as Passover and Thanksgiving, they entertained sumptuously in the family home.

During Shera’s illness of the past several years, Ben became a devoted caregiver, cook, and support, keeping her close to him in the family home and lifting her spirits until his own health no longer allowed. Shera and Ben celebrated their 68th anniversary on September 4, 2023.

In addition to his wife Shera and daughter Lisa, Ben is survived by his niece Marcia Smith of Watertown and niece Noreen and husband Ed Modery of Amarillo, TX, great-nephew and niece Jake and Heather, and their families. He was predeceased by his brother Sidney Smith of Bullhead City, AZ.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, March 21, at 1:00 p.m. at the Sharon Memorial Park Chapel, 40 Dedham St., Sharon, MA, followed by interment. Family and friends are invited to attend the Shivah (Jewish memorial reception) after the funeral on Thursday until 8:00 p.m., and again on Friday, March 22, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., in the community room of their home, Nahanton Woods, 210 Nahanton St., Newton Center.

In lieu of flowers, donations in the deceased’s memory can be made to Combined Jewish Philanthropies or the Embrace a Family Foundation (c/o Rotary Club of Natick), which helps families who are coping with cancer: P.O. Box 16, Natick, MA 01760, www.embraceafamily.org.

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Services

Funeral Service
Thursday
March 21, 2024

1:00 PM
Sharon Memorial Park Chapel, Dedham St, MA

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