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John Smith

Obituary for John Smith

October 19, 1950 - June 14, 2020
Bedford, New Hampshire | Age 69

Obituary

John Smith, 69, of Bedford, NH died early Saturday, June 14, 2020 at Elliot Hospital. The primary cause of death was Covid 19. John was loved by his family and by all who had the pleasure to know him. He remembered everybody he met and could surprise you with his sly sense of humor.

John was born Richard Anthony Butler Williams on October 19, 1950 in Barranquilla, Colombia. He was always known to family as Tony. While growing up, his family moved several times— Argentina, Italy, and Mexico City. In 1964 they settled in Middletown, Ohio where John attended local schools. The summer of 1965 he was lead singer and tambourine player with The Escorts, a rock band he helped start. For his last two years of high school he attended the Lenox School, a college prep school in Lenox, MA. He briefly attended George Washington University, then Miami University in Ohio, but found it increasingly difficult to concentrate and dropped out. He learned years later that he had been experiencing the onset of schizophrenia, which often results in paranoia, and disordered and fragmented thinking.

He moved to San Francisco where he changed his name and worked several jobs, but his condition worsened. When he was 30 he moved to Boston to be near his brother. He began medical treatment for his schizophrenia enabling him to manage it, and was able to gain steady employment for the first time. He returned to college and in 1985 graduated from Keene State College with a degree in Sociology. For several years he worked in human services in Boston. In 1995 he earned a graduate degree in Public Administration from Suffolk University, and in 1997 he moved to Peterborough, NH, to be closer to his mother. He worked at Beech Hill Hospital in Dublin, NH, then as a residential aide and instructor for seven years at Easter Seals in Manchester.

In 2013 John's health began to decline and he was admitted to the Bedford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He loved it there, and spent his days reading books on a wide range of subjects- accounting, biology, chemistry, history, and philosophy; and writing- filling notebooks with his thoughts and insights on life.
John never married and has no children. He is survived by a sister, Mary Williams, of Vallejo, CA, two brothers, Chris Williams of Houston, TX, and Michael Williams of Boston, MA, and by many nieces, nephews, all of whom will miss him dearly. He was predeceased by his parents Edward and Phoebe Williams, both in 2003.

There will be no funeral. Immediate family will join in a Zoom memorial in late June.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester (https://www.mhcgm.org/donate) where he had been a familiar presence over the years.

No Services Scheduled.


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Phaneuf Funeral Homes & Crematorium - Hanover Street

243 Hanover Street
Manchester, NH 03104
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