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Ray 'Bill' Smith, longtime Cambria farmer, aviator, dies at 89

March 31, 1928 – Dec. 21, 2017

Ray William “Bill” Smith of the Town of Cambria died at his home on December 21, 2017. He was 89.

Born in Newfane but he his family moved to Cambria when he four and he he lived there for the next 85 years. He owned and operated his family’s farm for over 60 of those years.

A graduate of Lockport High School, he was an avid aviation enthusiast since his teen years. Mr. Smith owned, flew and rebuilt a fleet of vintage aircraft over the years. He enjoyed flying his airplanes to the Oshkosh Wisconsin Fly-in and to the National Warplane Museum Airshow in Geneseo. A 1937 Stearman PT-13A Bi-plane he rebuilt appeared in the movie “The Natural” flying over Buffalo’s baseball stadium.

At the Cambria Airfield located on his farm, he welcomed and was a founding member of the Niagara Souring Club. For over a decade, he hosted a Fly-in Breakfast sponsored by the Town of Cambria Fire Company.

Mr. Smith was inducted into the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Aerospace Hall of Fame in 2011.

Mr. Smith was a member of and representative for Niagara County to the National Grape Cooperative (Welch’s) for many years.

He was past fire chief and a retired lifetime member of the Town of Cambria Volunteer Fire Company.

Mr. Smith was a past deacon of the Cambria Congregational Church and former leader of its youth group.

He is survived by his children, Peter Smith, Jacqueline Connelly and Jennifer Sandoval; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and his loving companion, Linda Jeffords.

There will be a viewing with the family on 3 to 7 p.m. Dec.  26 at the Rutland Corwin Funeral Home on Route 78 in Newfane and a private family service at a later time.


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