Candlelight vigil held for Deep River first selectman - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Candlelight vigil held for Deep River first selectman

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Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith passed away. (Deep River photo) Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith passed away. (Deep River photo)
(WFSB) (WFSB)
DEEP RIVER, CT (WFSB) -

The town of Deep River is mourning the loss of a beloved leader.

First Selectman Dick “Smitty” Smith died on Friday in the midst of his 13th term.

Outside of the town hall, people have left flowers and candles in Smith’s honor.

“I have never known someone to contribute as much of their life to the community that they lived in and that's something to aspire too,” said Angus McDonald, Deep River selectman.

Smith spent 26 years as an assemblyman and three decades as a town constable, but McDonald said Smith didn’t just lead from town hall or his patrol car. No job was too great or small.

“He'd be driving the street sweeper down the street or he'd be plowing the snow or he'd be working an excavator or pouring concrete somewhere or he'd be in his patrol car, he was everywhere all the time,” McDonald said.

He said Smith died from a medical issue, most likely a heart attack.

Marlene Powers moved to Deep River eight years ago, and said the town lost so much more than a selectman.

“I feel like Dick was the heart of this town,” Powers said.

McDonald said the town will figure out how to fill Smith’s position this week, but they will never fill his shoes.

“We just have to do the best that we can and we'll do fine, we just won't have Dick at the helm anymore and that's the hard part,” McDonald said.

A candlelight vigil was held on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. at town hall.

A wake is scheduled for Tuesday at town hall and funeral services will be on Wednesday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Chester.

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