Persis's Story

PITTSFIELD - Persis Carr Smith died peacefully on January 12, 2015, at The Pine Point Center, in Scarborough, Maine. She was 99 and ½ years of age.

Persis was born in Orford, NH, the eldest of six children born to True H. Carr and Marion Foote Carr. Persis enjoyed music and at an early age began studying piano. She graduated in 1933 from Goshen High School, Goshen, New York. She was an accomplished student and a member of the Glee Club. She often was an accompanist for her school musical performances.

Persis attended Tusculum College, Greenville, TN, but the restraints imposed by the Great Depression prevented her from completing her studies. Persis returned home and at the urging of her mother, she went to Montpelier, VT, to attend college and to study piano under the direction of an accomplished pianist known to the family. During that time Persis met and married Roderic L. Smith on September 11, 1939. In 1945, they moved to Pittsfield, Maine, where Rod had taken the position of Athletic Director/teacher at Maine Central Institute.

Together they raised three daughters. Persis was a devoted mother and wife. She loved her family and her home. She worked as a teacher assistant at the Detroit Elementary School and was the assistant librarian at MCI for many years. Persis was active in numerous Pittsfield organizations - the local Girl Scouts, the Arts Club, the Nurses Club, Sebasticook Valley Hospital Auxiliary, the Athenaeum Club and the Pittsfield Garden Club. Persis served as a trustee of the Pittsfield Public Library. She was also a member of the MCI Hall of Fame. She was honored to be presented with the Boston Post Cane in July of 2013 from the community that she dearly loved. Persis and Rod were founding members of the First Congregational Church, Pittsfield, Maine. She served her church in many ways as a longtime member of the choir, assistant organist, deaconess, member of the Women's Fellowship, Pennywise Shop volunteer and in later years as the church organist, retiring at the age of 90. Persis also served as the summer organist at the First Baptist Church for 24 years. For many years she shared her musical talent within the community as a local piano instructor.

Persis was a true life-long learner. She was an avid reader, enjoying all genres of literature. She participated in the book group and the knitting group that meets at the Pittsfield Public Library. She remained active by walking daily and she could often be found enjoying the beauty of her flower gardens. However, her true passion was her music. It was a rare day that she did not put in at least an hour of practice on the piano. This continued well into her 90's. Music fed her soul and in turn enriched the lives of her family and friends. Persis was blessed with many friends. She cherished them all and the joy they brought to her life.

Persis was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Roderic L. Smith. She is survived by her daughters, Sally S. Bryant and husband, Peter, of Hancock Point, Maine, Judith S. Chapman and husband, Richard, of Suffield, CT, and Susan S. England and husband, David, of Saunderstown, RI, as well as 7 beloved grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren; and her sister, Nancy C. Downing of Saratoga, Springs, NY.

A private family committal service will be held Memorial Day weekend in Shelburne Falls, MA.

A celebration of Persis' life will be held June 13, 2015, in honor of her 100th birthday, at a location yet to be determined.

Memorial donations may be sent to Maine Central Institute c/o The Alumni Office, 295 Main Street, Pittsfield, Maine, 04967 or to the First Congregational Church of Pittsfield, PO Box 423, Pittsfield, Maine, 04967.

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Care has been provided by Shorey-Nichols Funeral Home, Pittsfield.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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