WILTON, Conn. -- Walter R.T. Smith, master builder, building historian and preservationist of Wilton’s architectural history for nearly 70 years, died on Thursday, Feb. 12. He was 92.
Walter was born in Stamford, on Dec. 21, 1922, the fourth of six children of Emily Slawson and Roswell Truman Smith, a builder.
He married the girl of his dreams, Daisy, on Jan. 27, 1946, and settled in Wilton immediately afterward. Taking up the trade he had learned from his father, Walter built their house on Forest Lane. It was the first of a dozen homes he would build in that neighborhood.
Among the many Wilton landmarks bearing the stamp of his craftsmanship (either as builder or through renovation) are the Village Market, Wilton Congregational Church, Old Town Hall, Ambler Farm, Covenant Church, the Chase Bank, the ABC (A Better Chance) House, the Commonfund Building and the Wilton Library.
Walter is survived by his wife; five children: Richard (Vivien) Smith, David Smith, Kathryn (Brad) Scheller and Marilyn Smith, all of Wilton, and Emily (Bill) Tyler of Middleburg, Va.; 12 grandchildren: Jason Smith, Jennifer (Chris) Urban, Tahlia (Joseph) Tartakovsky, Christopher Scheller, Michael Kydes, Brian Scheller, Arielle (Darren) Leva, Daniel Kydes, Kevin Scheller, William Kydes, Jacob Orbach-Smith and John Walter “Jack” Tyler; and a great-granddaughter, Margot Tartakovsky.
He also is survived by three of his siblings, Madeline Kaloides of Urbandale, Iowa; Dr. Theodore Smith of Mexico; and Winifred (Nels) Bjarke of Tacoma, Wash., as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their children.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Eleanor O’Connell of Lyme, Conn., and Harriet Barker of New Hampshire; a daughter-in-law, Lillian Tanner Smith of Wilton; and an infant grandson Jonathan Smith.
A celebration of the life of Walter R.T. Smith will commence on Friday, March 6, with calling hours at the Wilton Historical Society (224 Danbury Road) from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, at the Wilton Congregational Church (70 Ridgefield Road), followed by a reception at the church. A private burial will take place in Bald Hill Cemetery in the spring.
Contributions in his memory may be made to The Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897, www.wiltonhistorical.org or The Bald Hill Cemetery Association c/o John Taylor, Treasurer, 358 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897, www.baldhillcemetery.org.
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