WILLIAMSBURG – Candy Smith, who ran the Williamsburg Grange for decades and was known for welcoming people into the community, will be honored at a memorial service in August.
Smith died on June 28 at the age of 74. Born Candace Black, she came from a family that has lived in the city since its colonization in the 1700s.
“She loved getting to know people,” said her daughter Shannon Wade. “She spent most of her time volunteering.
Smith was married to the late Carl Smith and together they had three children: daughter Shannon Wade and sons Shad Smith and Shane Smith.
“Next to his family, his community was the second most important thing,” said Shad Smith.
Wade said that since her mother’s passing, people have told her how her mother welcomed them to Williamsburg and that she was often the first person to do so.
“I just heard this feeling over and over again,” Wade said.
One of the people Smith warmly greeted was Zevey Steinitz, who moved to Williamsburg shortly after September 11.
Steinitz said Smith would bridge the gap between newcomers and those from older families in Williamsburg, making people feel welcome and sharing the city’s history.
“She made people feel welcome,” Steinitz said.
Another such person was Becky Houlihan, who lives on the same road as Smith.
“She was a great person,” Houlihan said. “She was very funny.”
Houlihan also said Smith and her husband were the “best neighbors you could ask for.”
She described how they would buy eggs for her children and how Carl would help them when their car got stuck. Houlihan and her family were also involved in the Grange with the Smiths, and she said Smith would take her daughters to Junior Grange meetings.
“She really touched so many people,” Houlihan said.
Smith was a dedicated member of the Grange, and she celebrated 60 years of membership this year. Wade said his mother was very involved at the local, regional and state levels with the Grange.
“She was the thing that kept the Barn” locally, Wade said.
At the time of her death, Smith was President of the Williamsburg Grange and Treasurer of the Pomona (regional) Grange. The Williamsburg Grange will honor him at its next meeting on August 7 by ceremoniously draping his charter.
Wade also noted his mother’s witty and sarcastic sense of humor.
“Sometimes she could be a little strong,” Wade said, adding that she always did it with a sense of humor.
Steinitz also referred to Smith’s humor, noting that she was one of the coordinators of the Ding Dong Show, a fundraiser for Heifer International through the First Congregational Church in Williamsburg. Steinitz said that after the kids did their skits, Smith would take the stage herself.
“In the end, she and her pals would dress up in crazy costumes and do a church ladies skit,” Steinitz said.
The Smith Memorial will be held on August 7 at 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Williamsburg. Smith was an active and long-standing member of the church.
“She grew up in the church,” said Linda West, a friend and church member. “She would do anything for the church.”
West explained that Smith was the church secretary and board member for a number of years and was the church’s representative to the local UCC church association. She also said her friend was kind and generous and crocheted 50 hats for a homeless shelter in New York City. “They were beautiful,” she said.
West wasn’t the only person to mention Smith’s crochet prowess, with Wade reporting his mother made baby hats that Wade would give to his doula customers.
Shane Smith noted her mother’s volunteerism and the way she took time for others.
“She has always been very important to a lot of people,” he said.
He also noted how he watched her grow as a person as she got older and how she became more tolerant of others.
Daria D’Arienzo is a friend of Smith, who has known her through the Barn, the Church and historical society. She recounted how her mother, Joan D’Arienzo, came to live with her in her 90s, and how Smith and her mother became friends until her mother died in 2020.
“My mother considered her to be another member of the family,” she said. “Another girl.”
In addition to her other roles, Smith was also involved in the Williamsburg Historical Society and was its treasurer. His nephew, Collin Black, served with Smith both in Society and in the Barn, and he also noted his involvement in the church and the Council on Aging.
“We’re going to need around five people to replace her,” he said.
You can reach Bera Dunau at [email protected]