A Life Remembered: Frederick Smith, Jr. ’45

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Son of former Head of School Frederick Smith Class of 1910 and faculty member Grace Vohr Smith, Frederick Smith, Jr. Class of 1945 passed away on Tuesday, November 10 at the age of 91 at Taylor Community in Laconia, NH. Fred was also the brother of Norma Jean “Jinga” Smith Moore longtime faculty member and wife of T. Holmes “Bud” Moore ’38.

Fred is survived by his wife, Jane Bennett Willingham Smith of Laconia, NH, daughters Allison Hill Smith of Ithaca, NY and Tory Tashian ’81 of Novato, CA, and his son Adam Smith ’83 of Arlington, VA. He is also survived by Jane’s daughters Sara ’74, and Pam ’78, sons Fred ’72 and Mark ’75, granddaughters Leah and Ellery, and grandson Mackintosh ’11; he is pre-deceased by Jane’s son Christopher Willingham ’81.

Fred Smith ’45 was featured on the cover of the Hamptonia in 2011.

Fred was born in New Hampton, NH to the late Frederick and Grace (Vohr) Smith on June 28, 1929, and was the youngest of three children. He attended kindergarten in Bristol, NH, grade school in a one-room schoolhouse in New Hampton, and went on to study at New Hampton School where he excelled in academics, earning the school’s highest award—The Meservey Medal—upon graduation. He was an outstanding athlete, playing baseball, soccer, hockey, and golf.

Fred entered Dartmouth College in June of 1945, shortly before his 16th birthday. He went on from Dartmouth to Cornell Law School, graduating in 1952, and then joined the law firm of Upton, Sanders, and Upton in Concord, New Hampshire. After a year with the firm, Fred was commissioned as an Ensign in the U. S. Navy, serving on the USS Platte in the Pacific from 1953 to 1957. The USS Platte provided logistics support for the US 7th Fleet Operations out of San Diego Harbor, heading to Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands, Formosa, Hong Kong, and Sasebo.

Fred Smith
Fred Smith ’45 (back row, far left) with fellow officers aboard the USS Platte.

Following military service, Fred moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a career in government service. He joined the State Department as an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Legal Advisor for Inter-American Affairs. In this role, Fred drafted and negotiated international boundary treaties, drafted legislation, and testified on treaties and legislation, as well as holding responsibility for international extradition matters. During this time, he met Sharon Higbie from Kalamazoo, MI, and they were married at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Fred and Sharon’s family grew with the birth of their three daughters, including the late Meredith Chase Smith, and a son.

Promoted to Assistant Legal Advisor for Security and Consular Affairs, Fred was then awarded a fellowship to study at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, earning a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Fred served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Security and Consular Affairs, was selected to head the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Conference on Rights and Duties of States in Vienna, Austria, and in 1976 was selected as the Consul General for Consular Affairs at the American Embassy in Mexico. Following assignments as a Foreign Service Inspector and Director of the Foreign Service Grievance Staff back in Washington, D.C., Fred was selected as the Consul General for Consular Affairs in Toronto, Canada. After Canada, Fred held positions in the Bureau of Consular Affairs retiring from the Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor after 31 years of government service. He went on to serve on the Board of Appellate Review, as a Consultant to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and a Senior Reviewer and Legal Advisor.

Fred Smith ’45, left, attends his 70th New Hampton School Reunion in 2015.

Jane Bennett Willingham and Fred Smith were married on July 10, 1999, in the New Hampton Community Church. While they had known each other since childhood, it was not until the late ’90s that they blended their families. Rekindling a cherished friendship from early summer days when Jane Bennett spent summers in New Hampton with her parents, they reconnected when Fred purchased a second home in New Hampton and started spending more time back in the bucolic “small gore of land.” They shared many friendships and interests related to their hometown as well as golf, literature, the outdoors, travel, music (Pemigewasset Choral Society), and many other activities.

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