Richard K. Smith (83) of New Milford, CT passed away peacefully on January 31, 2021. Despite a challenging year of illness, he continued to fill every space with conversation and laughter. He recently met his first great-grandchild, who in turn was fascinated with his Grand-Pop's goofy faces, endless stories, and shoelaces.
After marrying his dedicated spouse of (61) years, Jean E. Smith, and with three young children in tow, Richard moved to from a small city home in Danbury, CT to a sprawling farm in New Milford. He continued his career with the City of Danbury until retirement, eventually becoming Superintendent of the Forestry Division, where he enjoyed working with his hands and helping others to appreciate and preserve the natural beauty of the town's greenery.
He was a Lifetime Member of CT Ox Owners Association, past Member of New England Ox Owners Association and Former Member of Danbury Elks.
While adding to his commute, Richard's move to the farm afforded him the ability to fully engage in his lifelong passion of raising oxen, a hobby passed on by his father. In training over 60 teams of cattle, he participated in pulling events throughout the eastern seaboard, using his later years to educate new generations about the historic role oxen played in the country's development. He thrived in telling jokes to packed arenas while expertly peppering in facts about animal husbandry, and the audiences would applaud enthusiastically when they saw him hug his 2,000-lb pets and lead them around the ring with just a quick word. He imparted this legacy of working with animals to his children and grandchildren, many of whom carry on the pulling tradition.
Richard enjoyed annual month-long trips to the beaches of New Smyrna, FL with his wife. He cherished the decades-long friendships he cultivated there with people from around the country and delighted in watching dolphins play in the rolling waves of the Atlantic. He also enjoyed stock car racing and was an avid supporter of both his grandson and son-in-law's competitions at various speedways in the region. Richard was always available to lend a hand to family and friends, be it splitting firewood, mending a fence, or helping with grandchildren. All he would ask for in return was easy companionship, a smile, and maybe a trip to a local Italian restaurant.
Richard is survived by: his wife Jean Smith (New Milford); his three children: Glenn Smith ( Chesterfield, MA), and his wife, Jo; Tammy Deak (New Milford, CT), and her husband, Bill; and Rick Smith, Jr (Bethlehem, CT), and his wife, Tami; his grand-children: Billy Deak, Jr (New Milford, CT), and his girlfriend Danielle, Kristina Deak (Wesley Chapel, FL), and her husband, Trent; Travis Smith and Ricki-Lynne (Bethlehem, CT); and his great-grandson, Connor Deak Tweddale (Wesley Chapel, FL).
A private memorial service will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers contributions in his memory may be made to the New Milford Ambulance or to ctchapteralzheimer's Association.
Arrangements by the Lillis Funeral Home, 58 Bridge Street, New Milford, CT.