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The culmination of Bill Smith’s retirement party was the announcement that the two drives into Granby’s Municipal Complex, the development of which Smith had overseen, would be known as William F. Smith, Jr. Way. The crowd rose to applaud the announcement and honor its recipient.
It was standing room only, with every seat in Holcomb Farm’s North Barn occupied and people two or three deep around the perimeter for the June 4 celebration honoring Smith’s almost 40 years of service. Former members of the Board of Selectmen going back decades, town officials and representatives from neighboring towns’ governments were testament to the admiration and respect Smith attained during his tenure here in Granby.
First Selectman Scott Kuhnly read a proclamation that June 4, 2017, was officially William F. Smith Day, and State Representative Bill Simanski presented Smith with a congratulatory citation from the Connecticut General Assembly.
Among those who paid tribute to Smith was Mary Glassman, Simsbury’s former First Selectman, who is now on the Capitol Region Education Council. Acknowledging his good work here in Granby, Glassman said it was important for her to attend and tell the town how important Smith has been to the entire Farmington Valley region. Smith was a member of many organizations, including serving as president of the Council of Small Towns, where he spearheaded lobbying for educational funding and open space. Glassman also noted that Smith was a member of the Farmington Valley Town Collaborative for 28 years, and that his guidance was sought by people across the state.
Holcomb Farm Board of Directors President Bob Bystrowski remarked that it was appropriate to have Smith’s retirement event take place in the North Barn, as Smith had been instrumental many years ago in the return of the Farm to the Town of Granby after it was willed to the University of Connecticut. Smith has long been a proponent of projects that have enhanced the development of the Farm, such as the renovation of a run-down building into a town meeting space (the Workshop) and the renovation of the deteriorating North Barn into the event site it has become.
Many of the 14 speakers referred to Smith’s dedication to the job, intelligence, compassion and humor. Smith’s executive secretary Pat Chieski said he always encouraged staff members to reach their potential. Selectman Sally King remarked that the job of finding a suitable replacement was a difficult one. She also noted that staff loyalty was a testament to Smith’s leadership.
After receiving the first namesake street sign, Smith spoke of his appreciation for his staff and the cooperation of all the departments of town government. He may not have an office in Town Hall anymore, but he will continue to be an active participant in Granby life.