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In Gratitude

On Sunday evening, the world lost a great, great man. My grandfather, Warren Greenwood Smith (how’s that for a name!), passed away peacefully at 91, surrounded by family. As I was growing up and beginning to be cognizant of things like mortality, I realized that soon enough,  I would lose one of my four grandparents who were all living still. I thought particularly about how I would feel when it happened, but the reality is pretty far from my dramatic high school fantasies. What I feel most is gratitude; Grandpa’s life gave so very much to all who were lucky enough to know him and even luckier to be loved by him.

Grandpa, thank you for being so open to life: 11 kids, 22 grandkids, and (for now) 11 great-grandkids.

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Thank you for being ever child-like, sharing authentic joy with us as children in simple things like home-made Olympic challenges in the yard, eating breakfast in the sugar shack cooked on the wood stove, and tractor rides around the fields.

Thank you for building your retirement home from scratch in your 60s, so your kids and grandkids could live the dream, exploring your 24 acres in the Finger Lakes, tapping maple syrup in the winters, swimming in the pond in the summers, camping under the stars, sledding, campfires, forest scavenger hunts, and more.

Thank you for showing us that each of us mattered to you, even though there were so many of us. For all the musicals you drove down to see, the soccer and lacrosse games you watched, and the utter joy you took in each tiny new life to join our family.











Thank you for being an adventurer, for traveling the world with my family: 3 weeks in Italy and 2 in Ireland, plus the many, many trips you took with Nanny. Your meticulous records could be made into a travel guide.

Thank you for being a romantic: for swing dancing with your wife — even at my wedding, at 89! For not being afraid to ask out a girl with a ring already on her finger, and for showing us all how much you loved Nanny in words and actions.






Thank you for everything you made with your hands, the countless hours you worked to support your family, all the moments you forged on ahead through difficulties with your characteristic stoic strength. Thank you for serving your country, your family, your God. You are a class act, a true gentleman, and the most loving of souls. You will be greatly missed.

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May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


10 thoughts on “In Gratitude

  1. We still talk about how remarkable your grandparents were, swinging away, at your wedding reception. We are sorry for your loss but rejoice in your beautiful memories! We will offer our rosary for him and will keep you, the family, in our prayers during this time. 🙂
    +Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…+

  2. Nicole, this is very beautiful and touching. My dad would have been proud of what you say here, although, because he was so humble and stoic Mainer, he wouldn’t have wanted to be fussed over too much! Looking forward to seeing you at the funeral celebration of Dad’s life.

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