Henry Russell Bradley Smith
Henry Russell Bradley Smith was born on April 11, 1922, in Flushing New York to Margaret Bradley, age 23, and Harvey H Smith, age 27. In Rye his family lived at 51 Grace Church Street.
Brad (also known affectionately as 'Mad Brad') spent his youth teasing his beloved sister, Kiki. He graduated from Rye High School in 1940, which included a brief stint at the New York Military Academy, an institution he loathed, and continuously ran away from.
In 1942 Brad compromised his dread of military school, and joined the U.S. Marine Corps., serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He served with the Marine All-Weather Fighter Squadron 114. (See Muster Rolls)
(VMF(AW)-114) was a squadron of the United States Marine Corps that was originally commissioned during World War II. Nicknamed the “Death Dealers”, the squadron saw the most action during the war providing close air support during the Battle of Peleliu.
Sgt. Henry B. Smith with Army Air Force in Palau Islands
PELELIU, PALAU ISLANDS Delayed
. Marine Sergt. Henry B. Smith, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Smith, of 51 Grace Church Street, Rye, N. Y. , is an aviation ordnance man in the first squadron to operate from the captured airstrip here. A member of the Death-Dealers Corsair squadron for the past year, Sergi. Smith is a graduate of Rye High School. Prior to enlisting in July, 1942, be was employed at the Alva Goldsmith Boatyard, Southold L. I. , N. Y. The planes of Sergt. Smiths squadron currently bombed and strafed Jap-held caves on Pelelius front line, and are making frequent strikes at other islands in the Palau Group.
Friday, October 27, 1944 THE RYE CHRONICLE PAGE ELEVEN
After a brief illness with polio, the WWII vet attempted to rejoin the Marine Corp. 'I wanted to see if I could pass their rigorous physical.' He failed - because of poor eye sight. 'So I spent the next month in the dark drinking carrot juice. And then I passed the physical.' He served another two years, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. View Discharge Record
A graduate of Bowdoin College, class of '50, Brad, also, attended the Yale School of Fine Arts, and the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. During the 1950's his skills in the arts positioned him as a commercial photographer with Fay Photo, Perry Products and Ski Magazine.
Brad married Rita Mae Hines, of Boston, on February 5, 1956. By 1964 the loving couple had produced five sons.
Known for his whimsically, philosophical, snippets, notably 'Life is a compromise,' the writer, photographer, and artist, Brad Smith forged an exemplary life of self-betterment, nurturing an admiration, and love of humanity, that spanned 82 years. Nowhere was that love more focused then on his children, and his wife.
From 1958 to 1972, Brad held an executive office at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, where he wrote extensively on folk art, and tools, most notably, his 1966 book, Blacksmiths' and Farriers' Tools.
At Brad's invitation, Lord Shelburne, of England, visited the name-sake museum. In 1963 Brad and his wife Rita then introduced Lord Shelburne to President John F. Kennedy.
In 1972 Brad became the Curator of Arts and Ives at The Heritage Plantation in Sandwich, MA, where he wrote extensively on Americana until he left that Cape Cod museum in 1977.
The love of Brad's life wasn't the arts, however. It was being a father, an obligation he adored, and never abandoned. He cherished the close contact he secured with his children, even when they grew into adulthood, often traveling with any number of them. He journeyed throughout Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, the Soviet Union, and Asia, including his favored China.
He developed a love of this world that he recorded in journals, with thousands of photographs, and later, with drawings, and paintings. Brad's every trek, also, moved him inward. 'I believe each individual should govern his conduct unselfishly,' he wrote his five sons. 'Always trying his utmost to perfect himself for his benefit in order to better enrich his life and those of his time.'
A leg injury partially hampered Brad's mobility later in life.
Remaining true to his philosophy that life is a compromise, the 6-year Marine chose to endure the physical hardship of his three-story Peaks Island house over the convenience of living somewhere else. 'Not even the Good Lord could convince me to leave,' Brad said, referring to his beloved house that his son Harvey built.
Apparently the Good Lord agreed, sending in His place a few angels to do the job.
Henry Russell Bradley Smith died July 6th 2004 in Portland, Maine, at the age of 82.
At the time of his death, Brad was survived by his wife, Rita, his brother Perry Edward Hall Smith; his five sons, Grosvenor, Kevin, Harvey, Adam, and Jaime, and five grandchildren; six nieces, Paula, Pamela, Margo, Nancy, Betsy, and Kari, and their 21 children, and grandchildren.
Interment at Mount Hope Cemetery, in Bangor.