Robert L. “Niffie” Smallidge
Niffie Smallidge, 87, peacefully went home to be with the Lord on April 6, 2019. Niffie was born on Aug. 25, 1931, in Somesville, and was the son of Lewis and Mazie (Brown) Smallidge.
Niffie grew up on Mount Desert Island thoroughly loving “his Island.” He attended school in Somesville and graduated from Gilman High School in 1949. He attended Maine Maritime Academy, graduating in 1949. He was in the Merchant Marine from 1952 to 1954 and then he joined the Navy to become a fighter jet pilot. One of the biggest joys of Niffie’s life was flying jets off of aircraft carriers, flying to other countries or “buzzing” Somes Sound. Niffie loved to fly fast. He was offered an opportunity to fly as a Blue Angel but declined so he could remain with his family. After he retired from the Navy, he was employed by Marine Hydraulics International in Norfolk, Va., for 20 years. In 2005, he retired to Pretty Marsh and returned to his roots.
Niffie had many loves on this Earth but the greatest of all was his wife of 63 years, Helen. Niffie and Helen grew up together in Pretty Marsh riding the school bus together and reconnected in their 20s. From then on it was Helen and Niffie against the world. They raised three girls while living in Texas, Florida and Virginia. Niffie never went anywhere that he didn’t make new friends and his famous quote “Where are you originally from?” will be remembered around the world. He was kind and generous to family, friends, co-workers and strangers, making everyone feel at home. He was so full of love, life and joy with just a pinch of naughtiness.
Niffie is survived by his wife, Helen, and three daughters, Kim Smallidge of Pretty Marsh, Meg and her husband, David Blanchard, of Beech Hill, Roberta (Ro) and her husband, Jay Olsson, of Indialantic, Fla., and his cherished granddaughter Hanna Olsson of Gainesville, Fla.; brother James Smallidge and his wife, Artie, of Freeport; sisters-in-law Anne Smallidge of Blue Hill, Inge Smallidge of Pretty Marsh and Ida Smallidge of Southwest Harbor; several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his beloved in-laws Clifford and Isabel Robinson and his granddaughter and partner in crime, Cary Olsson; a sister, Estella MacRae, and her husband, John; brothers John Smallidge and Lester Smallidge and a niece, Belinda Arduini.
In lieu of a service, we will be celebrating Niffie as we have every year on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, at 2 p.m. at our home in Pretty Marsh.
Those who wish may make contributions in Niffie’s memory to Harbor House in Southwest Harbor.