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  • Writer's pictureWilliamsburg Funeral Home

Douglas Grant Smith 1945-2023

Updated: Feb 20

Doug Smith of Sunderland passed away on December 12th, 2023, with his three brothers, Hiram, Tim, Geoff and sister-in-law, Lenore Gauthier Smith, as well as Doug's longtime companion, Barbe LaPierre, by his side.

Doug was born in San Francisco on October 8th, 1945, and later attended public schools in Winchester, MA, graduating in 1963.  He then enrolled in the University of Miami, and following three years there was inducted into the US Navy in August of 1967 where he served in the Submarine Service aboard the USS Gato (SSN615) and then the USS Nautilus (SSN571) on her final tour of duty. He was separated honorably in August of 1973, and subsequently enrolled at UMass Amherst, receiving his BS and MS degrees (with teaching assistantship), in 1977 and 1982, respectively.

He then served as Curator of Invertebrate Zoology and Lecturer in Biology at UMass and ultimately published nearly 70 peer reviewed papers; his work culminating in a magisterial revision of Pennak’s Freshwater Invertebrates of the United States in 2001. This work remains a prime reference in this field. Doug quickly became recognized as an excellent and insightful instructor in both classroom and field settings, and additionally was an associate curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  He was also an associate in invertebrate zoology at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. Following his teaching career, he was appointed as Assistant Dean and Pre-Med Advisor, serving in that capacity in full time and then part time roles until 2020, completing over 40 years of academic service. Throughout and following his academic career, he was an ardent supporter of the UMass community, particularly athletics, reveling in their victories and stoic in their defeats.

During the latter years of his academic experience, Doug became fascinated with the unique and evolutionary American cars of the early and middle 1950s and satisfied this passion by reconstructing or building a 1956 Dodge Power Wagon, a 1956 Corvette, a 1954 Hudson Hornet, and a 1953 Woodill Wildfire. These vehicles, particularly the Corvette and Hudson, became visual staples on the roadways near Sunderland. He had more cars under construction and was working on a 1957 Rambler Rebel and 1951 Muntz Jet with a 1949 Crosley Hotshot waiting in the wings at the time of his passing. His work on them and the history behind them and their marques is chronicled in Barbe’s well-crafted and informative website

Doug became an institution in the valley area with his wry but insightful and engaging sense of humor, and was always capable, gifted, and caring in his outlook. He loved nature and his countryside and was so fortunate to be able to do what he wanted to do, where he wanted to do it.

Barbe and his three brothers ask that if anyone wishes to remember Doug by a contribution that it be directed to Cooley Dickinson Hospital or the charity of their choice.

A memorial gathering will be held on June 8, 2024 at 1PM at the Willow Brook pavilion located at Look Memorial Park, 300 N Main St, Florence, MA

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