To Rev. Peter Kelly, pastor at the, Bill Smith did not have a conceited bone in his body.
Before Smith died suddenly of a massive heart attack at age 53 this past fall, he volunteered with his family every Wednesday atwinter homeless shelter program at the church — and truly liked the people he helped.
“He spent the night with the guests and talked to them every week,” Rev. Kelly said. “That was one of his great qualities — he was not a judgmental guy. I think he’d seen a lot in his life and knew what it was like to be down on your luck. He was very open and accepting.”
Smith, a Southold resident and employee ofin Greenport, died with minimal life insurance, and his family is dealing with hardships. Since his widow, MaryJo, is not yet 60, and his three children are all over the age of 18, his family is not yet entitled to any money from his social security.
To help, friends of Smith and his family are holding aon March 12 from 5 to 9 p.m. at in Greenport. Tickets to the event are $50 for adults and $20 for students. There will be a buffet dinner, a Chinese auction and a 50/50 raffle.
“Bill believed in supporting local merchants, so we want to support him,” said family friend Colleen Clark, whose husband Roger worked with Bill at the yacht yard. “We just want to help people who live near us — this could happen to any of us.”
Mike Acebo, manager of Brewer Yacht Yard, described Smith as an extremely multi-talented guy with a great work ethic. Acebo said that some of Smith’s ability to multitask probably came from his former career in the greenhouse industry in Connecticut and in the commercial fishing industry. Smith also watered and maintained all of the yard’s plantings in season.
“He worked here only about three years, but that was enough to make a definite impact on our operation in a positive way,” Acebo said. “He had no specific carpentry or mechanical skills but we always found a useful position for him. And he was enjoyed by all of our customers. He was very friendly and outgoing and always showed extra care and concern for work done on boats.”
Smith applied that same care and concern for the homeless at Maureen’s Haven, Rev. Kelly added.
“He was just an honest, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy,” he said. “He was versed in a lot of topics and did a little bit of everything around here. He was very easy to get along with and talk to. He had a very big heart.”
For more information on the event, call 631-765-1710 or e-mail email@example.com.