ROCHESTER - Dr. Alexander C. Smith, 94, of Estes Road, Rochester, died peacefully at home on December 3, 2017, surrounded by family.
Alex was born in 1923 in Nyack, New York, the eldest of three children of Dr. George A. Smith and Helene Milhomme Smith. He was a 1945 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in 1947 earned his doctor of medicine degree from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.
He completed post-graduate medical training in surgery, general medicine, and pathology at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, additional surgical training at the Cleveland Clinic, and obstetrics training at the Providence Lying-In Hospital.
Before finishing his medical training, Alex served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, having enlisted shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was commissioned as Lieutenant JG and served as a corpsman at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Boston.
In 1950 Alex married Edna Morris of Jackson Heights, New York. In 1952 they moved to Rochester, where he established a general medical practice in what was then a small rural community with few local physicians.
For the next 45 years, he served countless families in the greater Rochester area, where he was an integral part of the Frisbie Memorial Hospital community and provided cradle-to-grave care across generations. Obstetrics was a big part of his busy practice, and over the course of his long career he delivered nearly 5,000 babies.
After retiring in 1997, he volunteered for 10 years with the Avis Goodwin Clinic.
Throughout his life, Alex was deeply committed to community service and advancing public health. Early in his career, he served as a Rochester school physician and as team doctor for Spaulding High School's football program, and played a key role in the drive to immunize local children against polio. He was also a founder of the Rochester Boys Club and Rochester Ice Arena. He was a leading advocate for statewide, community-based mental health services, and was instrumental in establishing the Strafford Child Guidance Clinic.
He received many honors, including three Rochester Jaycee Citizen of the Year awards, the State of New Hampshire Jaycee Outstanding Citizen award (1962), and the University of New Hampshire Granite State Award for Outstanding Public Service (1976).
Alex loved New Hampshire. He had deep family roots in Wakefield, and in his youth spent summers on Bow Lake.
He enjoyed an extraordinarily full life, engaging in pursuits that reflected his love of the natural world, music, and literature - among them hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking, playing the banjo-mandolin, and writing poetry. He always loved to tell a good joke.
Alex often said he was fortunate to have spent his life engaged in work that matched his abilities and passions, and to have been a physician in a small town during what he referred to as the ""golden age of medicine,"" when doctors made house calls and cared for their patients throughout their lives. He was on call day and night, treating people in their homes, in the hospital, and sometimes in his kitchen. He took profound satisfaction and found great meaning in delivering babies and helping people die with dignity.
He said none of this would have been possible without Edna, his beloved wife and partner of 65 years. She and their six children and eight grandchildren were the greatest joys of his life.
Alex is predeceased by his wife, Edna M. Smith, and his two siblings: Pauline Smith Drago and George A. Smith. He is survived by his six children: Catherine E. Smith (and her husband, Harvey Horn) of Rochester; Barbara H. Smith (and her husband, Rick Follender) of Nashua; George A. Smith (and his partner, Maggie Alsultany) of New York City; Alex J. Smith (and his wife, Laurie Smith) of Kailua, Hawaii; M. Sue Smith (and her husband, Mark Dixon) of Boulder, Colorado; and Elizabeth A. Smith (and her husband, Charles Bacharach) of Baltimore, Maryland.
He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Justin Bond, Sarah Bond, Rachel Follender, Matthew Follender, Kai Bacharach, Anna Bacharach, Alex Dixon, and John Dixon.