Donald W. & Lillian C. Smith Family Fund
Donald and Lillian Smith were no strangers to hard work. Don was born and raised in Ansonia and Lillian in Seymour during the Great Depression. Don began his career at a young age selling rhubarb and Christmas decorations. He turned 16 on a Sunday, got his working papers, and began work at noon the next day. What learned from the very beginning was that the valley was a great place to do business. That's why he turned to the valley community foundation to establish the Donald W. and Lillian C. Smith fund to lend a helping hand to others throughout this community.
"It's always been about the Valley," said Mr. Smith. "I've lived here my whole life. I was always treated fairly by anyone I worked for. People always knew what they were doing, and it was a super place to do business."
And do business they did. Lillian and Don were married in 1954 in Trinity Episcopal Church in Seymour, where they were both active members, and started Donald W. Smith Builder in the late 50's. Don was the builder and developer, and Lillian was behind the scenes managing the books and the business. Their primary focus was home construction, including the purchase and development of several large parcels of land into new neighborhoods. They also developed several pieces of commercial real estate.
As their business grew, they received support and mentoring from many successful business leaders in the Valley. They were both long time supporters of the local Boys and Girls Club, recognizing it as an organization that provides support and guidance to Valley youth, similar to the guidance and mentoring they themselves received.
They were also active throughout the community. For many years, Lillian served as the Treasurer of their Church, as well as Treasurer and Director of the Trinity Cemetery Association. Both were instrumental in founding Seymour's Mountain Meadows Cemetery, and Don continues to serve as a Cemetery Director today. Don remains a Director of the Valley Boys and Girls Club, a 40+ year member of Rotary International, where he is a Paul Harris Fellow, and also served as a Director of the former Shelton Savings Bank. He continues to be active by volunteering time at the VFW and as a member of the Board of Trustees of his retirement community in North Port, Florida.
He and his late wife, who passed away in 1995, raised two children - Don Smith Jr., a graduate of Emmett O' Brien, who has a family and a civil engineering business in Seymour, and Janet, who graduated from Seymour High School, and is a retired marketing executive living with her husband in Kinderhook, NY.
"We started this Fund because the Valley was very good to us," said Mr. Smith. "Hopefully our Fund will continue to help Valley people for years to come.
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