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Family, Friends Mourning Death Of 'Newtown Bee' Publisher R. Scudder Smith



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UPDATE (Thursday, August 18, 2022): For those who are unable to attend the funeral service on Friday, August 19, the Smith family has arranged a livestream of the services that can be viewed beginning just before 10 am (EST) by clicking through the following link, or scrolling to the viewing pane at the bottom of this obituary.

The Smith family announces with sadness the passing of R. Scudder Smith on August 14, 2022; he was 87 years old.

Born on April 12, 1935, Robert Scudder Smith was the elder son of Paul Scudder Smith and Mary Starr Conger Smith, and older brother to Mary Starr Adams and Ted Smith.

He attended his father’s alma mater, Amherst College, briefly, in 1953 but in 1954, he enlisted for three years with the United States Marine Corps, where he trained as a navigator at Cherry Point, N.C. There, he met and married Helen Willis, settling in upstate New York in 1957 where he attended Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

Scudder’s family company has owned Bee Publishing Company Inc. and published The Newtown Bee for 141 of its 145 years. Scudder worked at the paper beginning in 1961; he succeeded his father Paul as editor in 1972. On June 28, 2022 — the 145th anniversary of the first issue of The Newtown Bee's publication — local luminaries, including Newtown’s First Selectman, Newtown's delegation to the Connecticut Legislature, both of Connecticut’s US Senators, and the Fifth District US Congresswoman honored The Newtown Bee for its longevity, and celebrated Scudder and his family’s love for and dedication to the community.

Scudder’s passion for antiques manifested in The Newtown Bee sister paper, Antiques and The Arts Weekly, which he founded in 1963 and began as four pages of antiques coverage in The Newtown Bee. It has covered antiques shows, auctions, museum exhibitions and related art-world events since then. In 2006, the Antiques Dealers Association of America (ADA) honored Scudder with its Award of Merit for his contribution to the industry that has been substantially shaped by Antiques and The Arts Weekly.

Scudder and Helen began buying antiques during their life in Schenectady, gradually gravitating to folk sculpture, with weathervanes, game boards, whirligigs and carousel figures forming the core of their collection. His collection carried from his home to the office, turning the newspaper's 5 Church Hill Road headquarters into an extended, ever-evolving showcase of his acquisitions. A passionate collector, Scudder built up a formidable still bank collection, adding to it even from his hospital bed in his final days.

Since 1981, Scudder enjoyed vacationing in Saint Barthelemy in the French West Indies, where he loved hosting family and friends.

When he wasn’t chasing antiques or the next story for the paper, Scudder enjoyed creating elaborate gardens designed with vintage structures and garden antiques.

Scudder is survived by Helen, his wife of 66 years; son, David Smith, and daughter and son-in-law, Sherri Smith Baggett and Scott Baggett; grandsons Benjamin and Gregory Smith and their spouses, and Scudder and Judd Baggett and their spouses; and six great-grandchildren, as well as friends and colleagues both local and around the world.

A wake will be held at Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street in Newtown, on Thursday, August 18, 5 to 8 pm.

A funeral service will take place at Newtown Meeting House, 31 Main Street in Newtown, at 10 am Friday, August 19. Interment will follow at Newtown Village Cemetery, 20 Elm Drive.

A more extensive obituary will be featured in the August 19, 2022 print edition of The Newtown Bee. View funeral services beginning at 10 am on Friday, August 19 below:

R. Scudder Smith, publisher of The Newtown Bee and founder and publisher of Antiques and the Arts Weekly, at his desk at 5 Church Hill Road.
R. Scudder Smith, April 2015
R. Scudder Smith, May 2018.
Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. ssw says:

    Could not have worked for or known a kinder more giving man! He cared so much for the community. Will never this very special person.

  2. richgarth says:

    We have been friends and fellow collectors of Scudder for 30 years or more and he will be sorely missed for all the years to come. He was a dear heart, a true gentleman and a wonderful talented newspaper editor, tying his bowties so well you thought they were made by machine!

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