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Susan Jane Harrington Fisk Smith, 84, of Goshen, MA, passed away on March 2nd, 2023, just six months after her beloved husband of 61 years, Dana Bogardus Smith.
Susan was born on May 4, 1938, to Harold Arthur Harrington and Alice Payne Harrington in Graniteville, MA. She graduated from Westford Academy and attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she graduated with a B.A. in History in 1959. After graduation, Susan went directly to New Haven, CT to attend Yale University’s Master in the Art of Teaching program.
In 1960, the same year Susan graduated from Yale, she gave birth to her first child, Elisha Daniels Fisk. That same year, Elisha’s father, John Fisk, died tragically in a car accident at the age of 25. Newly widowed and with an infant, in the fall of 1960, Susan began teaching 8th-grade English in Wallingford, Connecticut. It was at this time that Susan met Dana Smith. They wed the following year in Haydenville, MA, and went on to have four children: Johannah, Evan, Jamie, and Molly.
Susan’s pursuit of a teaching degree was born partially of practicality. Her true passion, however, was the art of design, composition, and color. In the 1960s and early 1970s, she designed and constructed many large opera sets for local productions in the New Haven area. Additionally, Susan organized and participated in many community art projects including the Worthington Hooker School Arts Fair. In the late 1970s, she officially started taking classes in graphic design, and it is here that she found her lifelong calling and profession. In 1986, she co-founded the company Grandesign, where she worked until she retired, developing and designing layouts for books, advertisements, brochures, magazines, and annual reports.
Susan’s love of color was on display in her and Dana’s brilliantly colored home in New Haven: with its bright orange cabinets; yellow, blue, and green shutters; purple and raspberry-colored window frames; and grasshopper-green baseboards, their home was truly a symphony of color. The Smith home was warm and inviting, and the back door (though technically, the side door) was always open for visitors to stop by and sit at the big, round white kitchen table: the proverbial heart and center of many endless conversations and cups of coffee.
An avid reader of many genres, Susan loved Dickens, Trollop, Eliot, and Bronte. She also loved mystery writers, including favorites Dick Francis, John le Carre, Dorothy Sayer, and Tony Hillerman. The New Yorker, PBS programs (Masterpiece Theatre- such as Upstairs Downstairs, Poldark, etc), and, of course, The Red Sox were all great loves.
Susan found her second chapter in the love of words and language. On any given day, you could find Susan perched on her couch, surrounded by stacks of dictionaries and reference books, ensconced in the completion of the New York Times crossword puzzle. After years of partaking in the puzzles, Susan embarked on her next journey of crafting and creating her own crossword puzzles (by hand with no computer or internet!), many of which were published in the New York Times and the Simon & Schuster crossword books, and some of which NY Times editor Will Shortz chose to publish in his 50 Favorite Puzzles book.
In 2000, after leaving their home of 36 years in New Haven, CT, Susan and Dana made their new home in Goshen, Massachusetts. Built in 1900 by Dana’s grandfather, the house sits high atop a hill, with a breathtaking view of rolling fields, dense forest, the Lower Highland Lake, and the endless and bright, big, blue Goshen sky.
It was here in Goshen, with its proximity to Amherst, MA, that Susan became enchanted with the works of Emily Dickinson. Pouring over biographies and anthologies of Emily’s poems, Susan married her love of crosswords with her love of Emily Dickinson poetry and created a book of 50 crosswords, the theme of each being a line from an Emily Dickinson poem. With a beautiful cover designed by Susan, the book is one we hope to have published in her honor.
On Dad’s urn, as he instructed, we engraved, “Done Tinkering.” In the same vein, but a little more refined as is its subject, there will be inscribed on Mom’s urn an Emily Dickinson quote: “Before me - Immortality - ”
Fittingly, engraved on Dana and Susan’s granite gravestone will be the following lines from Dickinson:
“Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses - past the headlands -
Into deep Eternity - “
Susan leaves her beloved children: Johannah (Tom), Evan (Jennifer), Jamie, Molly (Victoria), and daughter-in-law Monireh. In addition to her husband Dana, she was predeceased by her older sister Mona, and her eldest son Elisha. She leaves four beloved grandchildren: Rachel, Sam, Noah, and Evan. Additionally, she leaves behind her niece Eliza (Mark), and nephews Ben and Thomas. She also leaves her sister-in-law Angela Gewecke, her niece Heidi (Gary), and her nephew Cyrus (Aja).
In lieu of flowers, please send your favorite Susan memory to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.