Thomas M. Smithwick passed away peacefully on November 3 at his home at The Osborn in Rye. He was 98.
He was born and educated in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, the son of Margaret and Thomas Smithwick. Early in his working career he was with Standard Oil Company, later Exxon. He was transferred from his job in Toronto to Colombia, South America in 1940, and worked in the petroleum business there.
He met Eileen Isabel Neville while playing golf in Cali, Colombia, and they married in November 1942. All five of their children were born in Colombia.
Mr. Smithwick moved to the import/export sales business and had a very successful career in that field. When he joined American Viscose Corporation, later FMC, in 1956, the family moved to Scarsdale. They resided there and in Larchmont and Greenwich, until he and his wife retired to Tequesta, Florida in 1975. In 2004, Mr. Smithwick moved to Rye to be closer to his family.
Tom Smithwick was a devout Roman Catholic and a parishioner of Resurrection Church in Rye. He was a world traveler and both he and his wife were avid and proficient golfers. He belonged to Club Campestre de Cali, Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, and Turtle Creek Golf Club in Tequesta.
A loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he was known for his generosity, kindness, loyal friendship, quick wit, and sense of humor.
Mr. Smithwick was preceded in death by his wife Eileen, the love of his life, in 1985, by his eldest son, T. James Smithwick, his daughter-in-law, Bonnie Smithwick, and his son-in-law Toby Schultz. He is survived by his brother, Jerry Smithwick of Kelowna, British Columbia; his son, Robert Neville Smithwick of Key West, Florida; and by his daughters, Marleen Galas (Thom) of Daniel Island, South Carolina, Patricia Rafter (Bob) of Port Chester, and Betty Schultz of Larkspur, Colorado. He will be greatly missed by his eight devoted grandchildren: Meg, Reid, Jimmy (Ursula), Rob (Katie), Matt (Lindsay), Tom, Katharine, and Andrew, and by his latest delight, great-granddaughter Jane Rafter.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Resurrection Church in Rye November 11 at 11 a.m.
Gifts in Mr. Smithwick’s memory may be made to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, P.O. Box 27106, New York, NY 10087-7105.
Peter Thomas of Rye passed away September 19. He was 78.
Born July 15, 1935, he was the son of Peter and Penelope (Yanelli) Thomas. After graduating from Rye High School in 1955, he ran the family business, Thomas Confectionary, for nearly a decade. When the family decided to sell the business, Mr. Thomas became the assistant manager of Arnold’s Bakery in Greenwich.
In the early 1990s, he owned and operated two businesses in New Rochelle, The Donut Café and The Book Café.
He married Melpomeni Veikontis on April 17, 1966 in Mitilini, Greece. They returned to Rye to raise their family.
His greatest joy was spending time with his family and vacationing with them in Greece. He was also a passionate Mets and Jets fan. When he wasn’t at a game, he followed his teams on radio. Mr. Thomas was always up on current events. He read newspapers from cover to cover and clipped articles, which he then sent to family and friends.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Thomas is survived by a son, Peter and his wife Kelly; a daughter, Penelope; and five grandchildren: Meni, Peter, Georgia, Meni, and Effie. He was predeceased by his son James and his brother George.
A funeral service was held September 21 at the Church of Our Savior.
Donations in Peter Thomas’ memory may be made to the Greek Orthodox Church of Our Savior, 2195 Westchester Avenue East, Rye, NY 10580.
Over the 32 years Marilyn Grumet taught English at Rye High School, she instilled a deep love of reading in her students. As a way to pass on her love of reading and to honor her dedication to her students, a memorial fund has been established at RHS to be used by the library to further enhance student learning. Ms. Grumet passed away July 12 at the age of 72.
Ms. Grumet made a big impact on students and colleagues alike during her tenure from 1967-1999.
In the words of fellow English teacher Jane Johnson, “Marilyn somehow managed to work well with all students, from the brightest, most motivated to the most recalcitrant. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a tremendous work ethic, as well as a vast background in literature. But what perhaps made her unique was her love of contemporary literature and ability to find books for just about every student.
“I still read the NY Times Book Review and notice a new book by an author she introduced me to or wonder if she would like whatever book by another new author is being reviewed that week.”
A former student, Jamie McKeown, wrote, “Ms. Grumet was one of those teachers who transformed the way you learned and thought and lived your life. Her brilliant mind, quick wit, and warm heart were a rare combination that made it impossible not to admire her and a privilege to learn from her. By taking learning ‘outside the box,’ she taught us to think that way too. I’ll never forget our trips to the theater and workshops with inner-city schools. For those she touched, she was impossible to forget.
“For the past 15 years, every time I’ve picked up a new book I’ve thought, ‘I wonder if Ms. Grumet read this?’ (Most likely, yes.) A great teacher like Ms. Grumet is never really gone though, her passion and energy live on in the hearts of her students even when 11th-grade English Lit is nothing more than a distant memory.”
If you’d like to contribute to the fund, send a check, payable to the Rye City School District, to Rye High School, Att: Patricia Taylor (Principal), 1 Parsons Street, Rye, NY 10580. Include Marilyn Grumet Memorial Fund on the memo line.