At the bountiful age of 87, John Irving Smallidge passed away Sept. 21 at home with his family in East Lyme, Conn.
He was predeceased by his loving wife of 61 years, Doris Scarvalone Smallidge.
He is survived by his four sons, their wives and children — Michael, his wife, Michele, and children Lucas and Lily; Timothy, his wife, Carolyn, and children Brandon and Tyler; Andrew, and his daughter Caitlin; Stephen, his wife, Tracey, and children Zoe, Zane and Zeke. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, whom he always remembered so fondly.
Born in Bar Harbor in 1931, John, known as Ting to local friends and family, was raised in his ancestral home of Northeast Harbor, one of Robert L. Smallidge and Nathalie Turner Smallidge’s six children — Dorcus (Donnell), Hugh, Jane, Nathan and Robert. He was the last surviving member of his siblings.
John grew up outdoors, on the water and in the forests around the island, enjoying the run of a most beautiful, and at the time, relatively quiet place. As a boy and young man, he was fortunate to be able to help deliver mail by boat, teach sailing lessons at the NEH Yacht Club and to work with local fishermen while at Gilman High, prior to attending college at the Maine Maritime Academy.
Following graduation from the MMA, John enlisted as an officer in the U.S. Navy, serving in multiple locations abroad before leaving for employment as a merchant mariner sailing globally.
Having met the love of his life Dorie while she was vacationing on Mount Desert Island, John and his young family settled in East Lyme, Conn., to provide a place close to both the sea and to the woods, enabling him to share his love of those natural spaces with his growing family. He was employed by the East Lyme Board of Education as a math teacher to open East Lyme High School in 1967. John was the originator and for many years, coach of the EL crew program, based initially out of Blood Street Sculls boathouse on Rogers Lake, Old Lyme.
John continually supplemented his teachers income, teaching celestial navigation to various groups, teaching sailing and briefly working at the Niantic Bay Yacht Club and by working summers as captain of several passenger sailing schooners out of Mystic, Conn. For many years he guided the Mystic Whaler, Voyager and Argea on multi-day excursions to a number of southern New England destinations, from Greenport to Cutty Hunk. John and Dorie were also longtime members and ardent supporters of the Niantic Bay Yacht Club and of the Crescent Cruising Club, where they were active in volunteering their help and made many lifelong friends formed over cockpit cocktails. Upon his retirement, John and Dorie continued sailing their sloop Medric, gunkholing simply along the coast and making sailing trips to his family home in Northeast Harbor. In later years they spent winter months (he reluctantly, purely a New Englander, always in loving support of her) in Vero Beach, Fla.
His children and grandchildren will spend a lifetime in amazement of his selfless good will, courage, slowness to anger and sense of personal honor to do the right thing. To the very end, blues eyes bright with humor and goodwill, he was cheery and welcoming to friends and strangers alike, with never a complaint about personal sacrifice or discomfort. His was no act, tough to emulate, a most worthy model of true character and so very loved.
Also, in his passing we are much comforted in knowing John Smallidge will fully know who John Smallidge is once again.