Edward F. Smith

Edward F. Smith, 64, of Bridgton, died unexpectedly Saturday, June 16, 2012, after suffering a heart attack.

Ed was a free spirit and talented musician, who embraced the 1960s counterculture, dropped back in to pursue a successful career in advertising and marketing, and then dropped back out for a simpler life.

Ed cherished his private life with his wife of 25 years, Anne Gardner Smith, and her five daughters and their six grandchildren. But, he also had a wide and diverse circle of friends made through school and work and while participating in various fantasy sports leagues — his hobby — and performing music — his passion.

On the night before he died, he sat in for a few numbers at the Freedom Cafe & Pub in Naples as part of the annual Naples Blues Festival — an event that celebrates the music he loved most.

Ed, who played guitar and sang lead vocals, had formed a country-blues duo with Skip Green, a harp player known professionally as “Waterford Slim.” They planned to perform as “Slim and Mr. Smitty To You.”

Ed grew up in Portland, graduated from Cheverus High School and attended the University of Southern Maine. His life journey included an extended trip to San Francisco in the late 1960s to fully experience the hippie youth movement that flowered in that city’s Haight-Ashbury District.

Ed’s interest in music as a profession solidified in the 1970s after he returned to Portland, where a vibrant live music scene had begun to earn a regional reputation. He played numerous gigs at local clubs, singing lead vocals in a folk-rock duo. He also booked bands for various clubs and bars.

To supplement his income, Ed began working at the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, working his way up from copy boy in the newsroom to an advertising sales position. He eventually left the newspapers to pursue other marketing opportunities, recognizing early that direct mail would play an increasingly important role in the advertising mix.

After leaving the corporate world, Ed joined with Anne to work in the food-catering business, eventually landing a contract to run the dining facility at the Naples Golf & Country Club. He also kept his hand in the music business by working as a club DJ.

Ed was remembered by his wife and family as “a loving husband, father and grandfather.” His friends came from all walks of life and will remember him as loyal, generous, kind and non-judgmental. He was an especially good friend to those most in need of a friend.

In addition to his parents, Edward F. and Kathleen A. Smith, Ed was predeceased by a sister, Kathleen Schidzig.

He is survived by two brothers, Christopher C. of Ireland and Costa Rica, and Paul E. of Freeport; a sister, Sheila A. (David) McNabb of Portland; his wife, Anne; five daughters, Mary Jane Schneider of Plymouth, Mass., Alicia Merrit of Princeton, Mass., Aimee McCue Lillas of Santa Monica, Calif., Chenoa Sullivan of Poland and Amanda Fickettt of Portland; and six grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday at St. Patrick Church, 1342 Congress Street, Portland, with the Rev. Harold Moreshead officiating. A reception will be held immediately following in the parish hall.

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