Ray William 'Bill' Smith, 89, of the Town of Cambria passed away peacefully at his home on December 21, 2017. Born in Newfane to Charles Arthur and Gertrude (Dirling) Smith, at the age of four he moved to Cambria where he lived for the next 85 years.
He owned and operated his family's farm for over 60 of those years.
A graduate of Lockport High School, he was an avid aviation enthusiast since his teen years. Mr. Smith owned, flew and rebuilt a fleet of vintage aircraft over the years. He enjoyed flying his airplanes to the Oshkosh Wisconsin Fly-in and to the National Warplane Museum Airshow in Geneseo, NY. A 1937 Stearman PT-13A Bi-plane he rebuilt appeared in the movie The Natural flying over Buffalos baseball stadium.
At the Cambria Airfield located on his farm, he welcomed and was a founding member of the Niagara Souring Club. For over a decade, he hosted a Fly-in Breakfast sponsored by the Town of Cambria Fire Company.
Mr. Smith was inducted into the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Aerospace Hall of Fame in 2011. He was a member of and representative for Niagara County to the National Grape Cooperative (Welshs) for many years.
He was past fire chief and a retired lifetime member of the Town of Cambria Volunteer Fire Company.
Mr. Smith is a past Deacon of the Cambria Congregational Church and former leader of its youth group.
He was predeceased by his four siblings, Garnet (Donald) Rainey, Florence (Gene) Yuhl, Robert (Irene) Smith and Donald (Florence) Smith.
He is survived by his children, Peter Smith, Jacqueline (Michael) Connelly and Jennifer (late Salvatore) Sandoval; grandchildren, Kory (Eric) Shugats, Eric (Ann) Smith, Robert (Sarah) Wasik, Kay (Robert) Fetter, Phillip (Sarah) Smith, Thomas Wasik and Jacob Sandoval; seven great-grandchildren and his loving companion, Linda Jeffords; also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Family will be present at the RUTLAND-CORWIN FUNERAL HOME, INC. 2670 Main St. Newfane, NY on TUESDAY December 26, 2017 from 3 - 7PM.
A private family service will be held at the Cambria Congregational Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Smith's name to Niagara Hospice whose staff provided gentle caring assistance in his final days. Please visit rutland-corwin.com to send the family a condolence.
Published on December 22, 2017