Kendall Craig's Story
Kendall Craig Smith of Kingston, N.H., died February 11, 2017, at Holmes Regional Hospital in Melbourne, Fla., from respiratory disease.
Born in Haverhill, Mass., February 16, 1939, the only son of the late Clifton and Gertrude Smith, he was predeceased by his younger sister, Susan Craig (Smith) Silva in 1998. Raised in Groveland by his single mother, Ken quickly learned the importance of hard work at an early age, to help provide for his mother and sister. This set the stage for a life of determination, perseverance and generosity. Mr. Smith and his family resided in Kingston, N.H., for the past 40 years.
Kendall met his wife, Evelyn (Ralph) Smith, as they both graduated in 1956 from Georgetown’s Perley High School. In October of 2016, they were married for 55 years. Together they have two children, Kimberly Craig (Smith) of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and Craig William Smith and wife, Mary-Teresa (Johnson) Smith of Roswell, Ga.; five grandchildren, Tyler Craig Shea of Kingston, N.H., Colby Ameila Cunnington of Charleston, S.C., Logan Oliver Shea of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Kyle William Smith of Athens, Ga., and Austin Craig Smith of Roswell, Ga.; one great-granddaughter, Kendall Rye Cunnington of Charleston, S.C.; as well as two-goddaughters, Julie (Holbrook) Lichtman of Windham, N.H., and Sarah (Ralph) Stockbridge of Groveland, Mass.
After earning an Associates Degree in 1958 from Bentley School of Accounting in Boston, Mr. Smith began his 52-year banking career at the former Merrimack Valley National Bank in Andover, Mass. When the bank became Bay Bank Merrimack Valley, Mr. Smith was appointed Vice President until 1982, when he was hired by Granite State Bank in Somersworth, N.H., as its Vice President. On March 5, 1984, Mr. Smith was hired as Executive Vice President of the Pentucket Bank in Haverhill, where he would work for the next 26 years.
Mr. Smith went on to become the President of Pentucket Bank, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Board of Investment. Mr. Smith retired as President and Chief Executive Officer in June of 2010. He continued serving as Chairman of the Board, Trustee, Corporator and Advisor.
Mr. Smith’s volunteer time and charitable contributions benefitted numerous charities throughout the Greater Haverhill Community. His many honors and awards recognized selfless acts serving the needs or people from various ages and all walks of life.
A lifelong passion for auto racing eventually landed Ken in the New England Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. He was a soap box derby champion in Groveland and even drove cars in the woods behind his house. He had a brief race driving career and wrote his own racing column for The Haverhill Gazette.
Ken was an active organizer and donor to the annual Pines Speedway Reunion in Groveland. He participated as a Selection Committee Member and this past October was elected as an Honoree himself. Ken was a longtime member of the New England Auto Racers Inc., and the Senior Tour Auto Racers.
Mr. Smith was a founding member, major contributor, Treasurer and Executive Board Member of the North East Motorsports Museum, a new 10, 000-square foot home for historical race cars, memorabilia and decades of racing history. The building is located at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in Loudon, N.H. Opening ceremonies for this special museum will be in June, 2017.
A well-known love of Ken’s was the magic of Mickey Mouse and Disney. Arriving with his wife and children at Walt Disney World the first year it opened in 1972, Ken was fascinated with that wonderment started by just a mouse, a dream and an imagination. From that time forward, Ken had an affection and passion for anything Disney - lapel pins, life-sized stuffed figures of Minnie and Mickey Mouse in his office at the Bank, wearing Disney costumes in local parades, he shared that fun-loving magic with everyone.
Mr. Smith was a proud man -- proud of his devoted family, his dedicated employees at the Pentucket Bank, his loyal racing peers and fans, his charitable colleagues and faithful friends.
Visiting hours will be held Tuesday, June 6, 2017, between 2 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m., immediately followed by services at 7 p.m. at the Monument Square Chapel of Paul C. Rogers Family Funeral Home, 334 Main Street, Haverhill. A Celebration of Life will be held Wednesday, June 7, 2017, between 4 to 8 p.m. at DiBurro’s Function Facility, 887 Boston Road, in Haverhill’s Ward Hill, with a period of “Reflections by Family and Friends” at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mr. Smith’s honor may be made to the following: Emmaus House Inc., Attn. Gretchen Arntz, P.O. Box 568, Haverhill, MA 01831; Kendall Craig Smith Scholarship Fund, Attn. Tracy Parker, Haverhill High School, 137 Monument Street, Haverhill, MA 01832; The North East Motorsports Museum, Attn. NEMSM, 7 Bayview Road, Ipswich, MA 01938; The Northern Essex Community College Foundation, Attn. Jean Poth, 100 Elliott Street, Haverhill, MA 01830; The Pines Speedway Reunion, Attn. Claire Walsh, P.O. Box 178, Groveland, MA 01834; Rotary Club of Haverhill, Attn. Bill Kleuber, P.O. Box 808, Haverhill, MA 01831.
Published on  May 4, 2017