Category Archives: obituaries and eulogies

Ruth Wahtera



The following are comments of mine upon learning of the death of my longtime friend Ruth Wahtera, a native of Peabody, Massachusetts, who passed away on March 20, 2016:

In my opinion, Ruth was a very strong woman. Ahead of her time that way, but she didn’t seem to think about it. She had a quiet self-confidence, but was not overbearing. She just always seemed to be fully in command of her faculties, never lost her perspective and insight, had a great sense of humor, and could get to the bottom of things before you yourself could.

She did not take herself too seriously, yet at the same time she approached everything she did with great dedication and seriousness. She was very competent, inspired respect, yet at the same time she was approachable and friendly. She was easy to talk with, and you would always get an intelligent response. She was very mature for her age.

She was one year younger and behind me in school, but so smart, capable, mature, and level headed that I looked up to her.

We were fortunate to have been able to have resumed contact in recent years.

I first met Ruth, who was from Peabody, Massachusetts, in 1962 at a Liberal Religious Youth (LRY) conference on Star Island in the early 1960’s.

Ruth succeeded me as Chairman of the New England Regional Committee (NERC) of LRY during the 1964-65 academic year.

During the following year, she was President of Continental LRY.


– Roger W. Smith

     April 2016





A memorial service for Ruth Wahtera was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Concord, New Hampshire on April 23, 2016.

Posted below is a downloadable booklet from the service.


‘A Celebration of Life,’ Ruth Wahtera


George C. Smith, Sr., obituary


George C. Smith, Sr. (1892-1948) was my grandfather T. Gordon Smith’s brother and my father, Alan W. Smith’s, uncle.

He was the son of Thomas Smith, Jr. and Jennie (Wright) Smith.

His full name was George Caldwell (or Colwell) Smith.

George C. Smith, Sr obituary.JPG

Philip J. Pierce, tribute to Rev. John M. Coffee, Jr.




Delivered at memorial service for Rev. Coffee at the First Church, Unitarian Universalist, Boston, MA on June 18, 2012




Philip J. Pierce, tribute to Rev. John Coffee








T. Gordon Smith (1885-1967), memorial service


A memorial service for my grandfather T. Gordon Smith (1885-1967) was held at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Arlington, Massachusetts on November 22, 1967.


transcript of T. Gordon Smith memorial service

“Remembering Rev. John M. Coffee Jr.”




Remembering Rev. John M. Coffee Jr.




The above PDF file comprises the memorial tribute to Rev. John M. Coffee (1928-2012) at Emerson College in June 2012.

Remembering John M. Coffee, Jr. / November 20, 1928 – May 8, 2012

A Collection of John’s Writings and Photos, and Remembrances of His Friends

Delivered at Memorial Service / June 18, 2012 / First Church, Boston



posted by Roger W.  Smith




Rev. John Coffee, LRY advisor

John Coffee



Rev. John H. Nichols, memorial tribute to Elinor Handy Smith

Rev. John H. Nichols, memorial tribute to Elinor Handy Smith, March 15, 1973

Robert W. Tighe, letter of condolence 12-9-1989


Tighe Condolence Letter



This letter, dated December 9, 1989, was a letter of condolence from my former English teacher in Canton, Massachusetts (and the English teacher of my two brothers), Robert W. Tighe. It was written in response to news of the death of my father, Alan W. Smith, and was addressed to my older brother.

Mr. Tighe was an outstanding teacher of writing. It is interesting to have a sample of his writing. He writes very well, without pomposity. What is notable is the clarity and directness of expression; and how he avoids maudlin sentimentality while writing a forceful, direct letter that both expresses condolences and reflects on one’s mortality.



— Roger W. Smith

   December 2015