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Peter S. Smith, M.D.

December 9, 2016
Peter  S. Smith, M.D.
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Obituary for Peter S. Smith, M.D.

Peter Smith, M.D. of Barrington died on Friday, December 9 after a ten year struggle with Parkinson Disease and Lewy Body Dementia. His wife, Heidi, sister Laska Meseck, and children, Fiona and Kevin, were at his side.

Peter was born April 26, 1941, the son of Richard Smith and Kathryn (Winkel) Smith. His mother was a pianist with a deep love of poetry, and his father wrote and directed plays while working as a civilian safety engineer in the Army. Peter established the “Mighty Boys’ Club” with his sister Laska, a concert pianist, and endlessly teased his older brother Bart, an English Professor.

When Peter was 12 years old his family moved to France where he completed high school at the prestigious Lycée Louis le Grand. He met his wife while attending medical school in Basel, Switzerland. There they had two children before impetuously and inexplicably moving to Chattanooga. Four years later he drove a U Haul truck to Providence for a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Rhode Island Hospital. He joined the faculty of Brown University where he loved teaching, the intellectual challenge of medicine and the emotional intensity of working with children and their families.

Peter spoke French, German, and Spanish fluently and delighted in using his language skills at work, at home, in restaurants, and when traveling throughout Europe, West Africa, and Latin America. He enjoyed travels in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam but never mastered Khmer. He worshipped the great outdoors, spending his spare time and vacations hiking, biking, kayaking, gardening, and birdwatching. He shared his mother’s love of music, joining “Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois” boys choir in Paris, the Providence Singers, the medical school’s barbershop quartet, and the Robert Shaw Chorale during his sabbatical in Atlanta

Peter was an adventurous cook and dedicated baker of whole wheat sourdough bread, which was as solid as his ethics and tough as his discipline. He planted a lush meadow by Echo Lake and Epimedium in his woodland.

He is survived by his wife, Heidi of Barrington; his sister Laska of Warren; his daughter Fiona Smith and son-in-law- Alex of San Jose, California; his son, Kevin Smith and daughter-in-law Kathy of Boulder Colorado; and his grandsons Aiden and Kai.

A celebration of Peter's life will be held in late December. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to
Doctors without Borders or the Rhode Island chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association.

To send flowers or plant a tree in memory of Peter S. Smith, M.D., visit the Tribute Store.


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