Daniel Owen Smith, 90, of Marblehead, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Jan. 7, 2023, following a prolonged period of declining health. He was the adored husband of Roberta (Bobbi) White Smith, with whom he shared 40 years of marriage. He was the loving father of Zachary Smith of Brooklyn, New York and Tracy McKinnon of Cazenovia, New York.
Born in Canandaigua, New York, Dan was the son of the late Frederick and Kathleen Smith. He grew up in the village of Macedon, just outside Rochester, New York. The middle son in a family of three active boys, he lived an idyllic childhood. He was well known for his athletic talent, most notably in baseball. As a high school senior, he traveled to Ebbets Field, where he tried out with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Dan loved recounting the story of Jackie Robinson shouting out encouragement to him after he pitched batting practice for the team. He continued to be recruited by other pro teams but ultimately decided to pursue a college degree.
In 1954, Dan earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Colgate University. He continued his baseball career there and joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force, where he was a helicopter pilot stationed at Suffolk County AFB in Westhampton Beach, Long Island.
Upon his discharge from the service, Dan returned to the Rochester area and joined Mobil Chemical, beginning a 33-year career in the plastics industry. He worked in various sales and marketing positions in Rochester, the New York metropolitan area, and Florida. As National Sales Manager in the consumer plastics division, best known for Hefty Trash Bags, Dan enjoyed playing straight man to comedian Jonathan Winters, then the brand advertising spokesperson, at national sales meetings.
In 1977 a new opportunity as VP of Marketing and Sales at Webster Industries, a plastics company in Peabody, brought Dan to Marblehead. Five years later, he and a colleague left to start a consulting firm, MarketScope Inc., providing outsourced marketing and sales management to industrial companies entering the retail consumer sector. They closed the firm in 1992 when Dan retired.
Dan loved everything about Marblehead and the North Shore and strongly believed in community volunteerism. Sitting on the Marblehead Counseling Center board for several years, he was a leader in fundraising. In his retirement, Dan became actively involved with Hospice of the North Shore (now Care Dimensions). He co-chaired the organization’s annual auction and regatta event for three years, regularly visited hospice patients in their homes as a volunteer and worked at the front desk at Kaplan Family Hospice House. It is poignant that in Dan’sDan’s final months, he benefited personally from this wonderful organization.
Dan was a member of the Corinthian Yacht Club (where he served on the membership committee) and Tedesco Country Club. He loved being on the water, captaining his boat, and especially cruising the New England waters as part of the Corinthian Cruise. Playing tennis and golf were his passions, and he was a regular at the gym. Dan was an avid fan of most every spectator sport. Before COVID, he and Bobbi spent time in Florida in the Stuart and Vero Beach areas during February and March. Dan always looked forward to these times and hoped to do this again.
Dan cherished his family and friends. His close friends were like family to him; together with them, he and Bobbi created many long-term traditions and celebrations….always including lots of laughter and love.
In addition to Bobbi, Zach, and Tracy, Dan is survived by grandson Piper McKinnon of Clarkston, MI, brother Frederick (Parania) Smith of Irondequoit, NY, sister-in-law Betty Smith of Geneseo, NY, mother-in-law Judith White of Peabody, MA and sister-in-law Joanne White (Ted Friedman) of Arlington, MA. He leaves several nieces, nephews, and great nieces/ nephews. He was pre-deceased by his son Stephen Smith, brother John “Jack” Smith, and father-in-law Oscar White.
A Celebration of Dan’sDan’s Life will be held on Saturday, Mar. 18, at Clifton Lutheran Church, 150 Humphrey St. Marblehead, at 11 a.m., followed by a reception at the Boston Yacht Club, 1 Front St., Marblehead. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Dan’s memory to Care Dimensions Hospice , 75 Sylvan St., Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923 (www.CareDimensions.org) or to Alzheimer’sAlzheimer’s Association, (www.alz.org). Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at eustisandcornellfuneralhome.com for the Smith family.