Woodruff Robbins Smith, age 48, of Oneida, died Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 after an inspiring battle with ALS.
Woody was born on Sept. 14, 1970, to parents H. Alan Smith and Louise Brown-Smith. While his life began outside of Cleveland, Ohio, his childhood was spent mostly in New Berlin, N.Y., and in the City of Watertown, N.Y. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1988 and received a degree in English from the University of Buffalo in 1992. In 1994, after a brief tenure in Seattle, Wash., Woody moved back east and pursued a master’s degree in education, which he was awarded from Syracuse University in 1998. He was soon hired by the Camden School District, where he worked as a special education teacher, mostly alongside the high school English department, until his retirement in 2016.
In 1997 Woody met and fell in love with Kathi Newsom, and they were married on Jan. 3, 1998, at First United Methodist Church, Oneida. Their son, George Taff, was born on May 10, 2001, and their daughter, Lois Jane, was born on June 25, 2007. His wife and children were a source of unparalleled love, joy and pride throughout Woody’s life.
In addition to his wife and children, Woody’s death is felt most keenly by his parents, Alan and Louise of Cazenovia, his brothers and their wives, Matt and Leah of Tucson, Arizona and Ted and Katherine of Albany, his sister and her husband, Kate and Matthew Rodak of Syracuse, his parents-in-law, Paul and Marcia of Oneida, his sister-in-law, Mary Elizabeth of Philadelphia, Pa, his adoring nieces and nephews, Carter, Owen, Jack, Maddie, Benji, Alice, Lucy, Beatrice and Josie, and his devoted friends, Mike, Chip, Chuck, Rick and Chris.
Funeral services, open to the public, are scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Oneida. A reception is to follow at the Kallet Civic Center, where Woody has decided to throw one last party, celebrating a life of enormous joy and riotous laughter, of intense philosophizing and tireless storytelling, of loud music, magical poetry and a stubborn good cheer, even – maybe especially – in the face of a most impossible journey.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the ALS Association of Central New York, 135 Old Cove Road, Liverpool, NY 13080 or the Siegenthaler Center. 4277 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford, NY 13413. Arrangements are under the direction of the Campbell-Dean Funeral Home, Inc., 260 Main Street, Oneida, NY. To leave a message of condolence please visit www.campbell-dean.com.