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Feb. 6, 1928 - Sept. 21, 2012



Raymond M. Smith of the Town of Tonawanda, a tree expert who was named New York State Distinguished Arborist in 1988, died Friday in Mercy Nursing Facility at OLV, Lackawanna, after a long illness. He was 84.

His niece, Patricia Kanick, said Mr. Smith died from a mysterious bacterial infection whose source was never pinpointed. She said it could have had some connection with a cruise on the Nile River he took in 2010, but that was never proven.

Mr. Smith was born in Medina and graduated from Medina High School. He served in the Army during World War II and was trained as a paratrooper, but never saw combat. He attained the rank of sergeant and became a member of the American Legion.

He graduated in 1952 from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, an affiliate of Syracuse University. In later years, he endowed a scholarship fund there in his name and that of his wife of 42 years, Rita J., who died in 1996. The fund primarily aids students from Western New York. Mr. Smith was a member of the ESF 1911 Society, the college's society of donors.

He worked for Davey Tree and Lawn Care for about 40 years, becoming a vice president and eastern regional manager. The New York chapter of the International Society of Arborists presented him with its 1988 distinguished arborist award, and he also was a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists.

Mr. Smith was a longtime member of the Greater Buffalo Business and Advertising Club.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Saturday in St. Amelia Catholic Church, 2999 Eggert Road, Town of Tonawanda.