William J. Smith III

William J. Smith III

William J. Smith III

ALTAMONT — William J. Smith III was a hardworking man who held many jobs over the years to provide for his wife and son. “Family came first,” said his son, William James Smith IV.
Mr. Smith “went home to be with his Heavenly Father” on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, his family wrote in a tribute.  He was 88.

His family “will miss him dearly but he remains in their hearts forever as family meant everything to him,” the tribute said. 

Mr. Smith was born on Aug. 19, 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. He was raised in the Helderberg Hilltowns, first on a farm until his father died when he was 10 years old, and then in various places with his mother who worked as a maid and babysitter.

Eventually, in the early 1950s, the Smiths settled in a cottage on Jay Street in Altamont.

He met the woman who would be his wife, Beatrice, when she was 19 years old. Their union lasted for 63 years, ending only with his death.

The married couple first lived on a farm just below the village, raising beef and hay.

While farming all the while, Mr. Smith worked a variety of jobs, starting out as a milkman. He worked several years with Howard Diehl Plumbing and Heating, and also worked for the Guilderland Highway Department and as a school bus driver. Finally, he worked for 30 years installing underground cable for Niagara Mohawk.

He proudly served in the United States Army, from 1953 to 1955, stationed near Niagara Falls. 

Mr. Smith passed on his lifelong love of farming to his son, William James Smith IV. “He was a good father,” said his son. “We worked the farm together in our spare time. It was a hobby for him; he loved it. I took it over.”

“He was very devoted to his family,” said his wife, Beatrice Smith. She said of her husband and son, “Neither had time to hang out in bars or chase women.”

“We couldn’t get in trouble because we were so darned tired,” added their son.

“He liked big gardens,” said his wife. “He grew all kinds of vegetables and liked giving them away. He would have planted half the world if he could.”

When times were tough, Mr. Smith would sell his vegetables, his son said.

Mr. Smith was a man of constancy. He was a member of the Masons, of Altamont’s Noah Lodge, for 50 years.

His memorial service will be held at the Altamont Reformed Church. That is the church where he was married and where his son and his grandchildren were baptized.

“When you’re a farmer, you’re religious,” said his wife. “You pray to God: I hope the rain comes ….’”

Mrs. Smith concluded of her husband, “He had a hard life. He was just a good, faithful person, providing for his family, helping people less fortunate — he would go out of his way for the people that needed extra help. He didn’t need much for himself.”

“It made his day,” said his son, “if he made somebody happy.”

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William James Smith is survived by his beloved family: his wife of 63 years, Beatrice Smith; their son William James Smith IV and his wife, Katy; and by his grandchildren, William James Smith V, Calie Smith, and Gretchen Smith. 

A memorial service, and celebration of his life with his family and friends, will be held on Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. at the Altamont Reformed Church at 129 Lincoln Ave. in Altamont.

His family would like to thank everyone for their love and support.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

More Obituaries

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  • KNOX — David L. Romey of Knox, who was proud of his work, died in Albany on Monday, May 13, 2024. He was 61.
    Born on Dec. 18, 1962, he was the son of the late Gary and Betty (née Mayfield) Romey and the beloved husband of Roberta Romey with whom he shared 34 years of marriage. 

  • DELMAR — Linda L. Tanner, a generous-hearted woman who put her family and friends ahead of herself, died on Friday, May 17, 2024 at Gateway House of Peace in Ballston Spa. She was 74.

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