Winthrop "Toby" Smith died on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, after a long battle with cancer. He surrendered peacefully, surrounded by his loving children, in his son's home in Newark, Del.
He was the oldest of four siblings: his sister, Randy, of Beaufort, S.C.; brother Jeb of Ithaca, N.Y.; and brother Ben of Bivalve, Md. He grew up in Newark, Del., and attended his parents' alma mater, Oberlin College, before graduating from the University of Delaware with a history degree.
In 1977, he moved to the North Country, in search of a simpler pace of life. He worked as a full-time carpenter for many years before driving taxi and eventually dispatching for the remainder of his career.
Toby was a deep thinker who enjoyed life's simplest pleasures: the smell of old books, a home-cooked meal, a new green tomato on the vine. Anyone who met him was touched by his kindness, generosity, and determination to see the best in others. His children and closest friends knew him also as "a quiet rebel" and lifelong social justice advocate with a live-and-let live attitude and a fantastic sense of humor. He was diagnosed with and defeated lung cancer all before retiring, after which he was able to enjoy several years of gardening, cooking dinners with friends and family, reading, and working on his model train display.
Despite a 2017 diagnosis of multiple myeloma which ultimately claimed his life, he continued to be physically active and refused to be a victim of his disease. His medical team at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital/FitzPatrick Cancer Center knew him as a determined fighter with a positive spirit till the end. Toby donated his body to the Anatomical Gift program at the University of Delaware, which provides training for physical therapy students. He was so grateful for the work of the physical therapists at CVPH and adamant that he give back.
He is survived by his children: daughter Jessica, son Aaron, daughter-in-law Jamie, and granddaughter Alyssa of Newark, Del.; and daughter Rebecca and grandsons Frank, Joseph, and James of Elkton, Md. He also leaves behind his three siblings and his North Country family - Genniffer, Shawn, Malorie, Kaman, Kyoti, and Khota.
His family is eternally grateful to the staff of the FitzPatrick Cancer Center, especially Dr. Jan Duus; the doctors, nurses, and aides of CVPH R5, with special thanks to Jill Kanaly-Demers and Dr. Cheryl Eustaquio; and Delaware Hospice.
Those wishing to honor Toby's life may make a donation to the American Cancer Society, give blood to their local blood bank, or dedicate a luminaria to him at the next Relay for Life. You can also think of him the next time you read a book, recycle, or feed the wild birds.
Published on September 12, 2018
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