Retired Army Brig. Gen. David Hamilton Smith, a Harvard resident, died peacefully on September 5, 2023, at the Veterans’ Hospital in Bedford following a period of declining health. He was 92. The eldest son of Clifford B. Smith Sr. and Grace (Bushee) Smith was born in Beverly, on Aug. 20, 1931. David was raised along with his brother Clifford B. Smith Jr. in Topsfield and Newburyport where he graduated from high school in 1948.
David enlisted in the Massachusetts National Guard at age 17. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but dropped out after two months to play semipro, then pro, football. He was a “walk on” with the New York Giants in 1949 and 1950. He went on active duty in the U.S. Army in 1951 during the Berlin crisis and later deployed to Korea.
He graduated from Fitchburg State College in 1956 and married Ethel (McKellick) Smith. He later earned a master’s degree in education from Boston University. He worked as a special education teacher and eventually as the principal at McFarlin Middle School in Chelmsford. He continued serving in the guard throughout his teaching career while raising his family in Dracut and then Carlisle.
He left teaching to work at Avco from 1961 to 1965, and Raytheon from 1965 to 1973, after which he returned to the Army full-time and served in Vietnam. After Vietnam, he worked at Fort Devens for General George S. Patton IV.
In 1978 David attended the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was president of his class and graduated with honors on the commandant’s list.
His work in the 1980s was centered on force readiness, studying how to best use troops and rapidly deploy them should a war break out.
David served in the military until his retirement as a brigadier general in 1985. He received many medals for his service including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal.
After leaving the military, David worked at Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) for several years. In 1991, he and his wife Ethel purchased Winchester Art & Frame in Winchester, where he worked until his retirement in 2019 at the age of 88.
David was predeceased by his wife Ethel in 2014. He is survived by his four children: Karen Smith and her partner Maurice Morin of Hudson, New Hampshire; Susan (Smith) Smith and her husband Hugo of Beverly; David Smith and his wife Sherrill (Madden) Smith of Marlow, New Hampshire; and Lisa (Smith) Aciukewicz and her husband Thomas of Harvard, where he lived for the last three years. He was also predeceased by his companion Beverly Allard in 2016. He is survived by her daughter Michelle (Allard) McMahon and her husband Paul of Acton. David is also survived by his grandchildren Jonathan Recco, Rebecca (Smith) Palm, Ethan Recco, Jessica (Smith) King, Tristan Smith, Aidan Aciukewicz, James Aciukewicz, William McMahon, and Jonathan McMahon, and one great-grandson, Chandler Palm.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Anne's Parish, 75 King St. Littleton, MA, at 10:00 AM on Monday, September 25, 2023. Immediately following the Funeral Mass will be a reception at the VFW in Littleton, at 21 Taylor St, Littleton, MA. A committal service will follow the reception at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery, 110 Daniel Webster Highway, Boscawen, NH 03303 at 3:00 PM.