Eight Bells: David Smith

Published on March 18th, 2014

David James Smith, age 88, died March 8, 2014 in West Peabody, MA.

Born and raised in Salem, MA, David was a graduate of St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers. Following High School, he entered the United States Navy and served his Country during WWII. When he returned from his tour of Duty with the Navy, David graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the class of 1950.

David had resided in Marblehead for many years and enjoyed being close to the water. His passion was sailing. He became an excellent, prominent Yachtsman. During the 1960 Olympics in Rome, David teamed with George O’Day and James Hunt to win a gold medal in 5.5 Class racing sailboat. He had also sailed in the America’s Cup Trials in 1962 as bowman on 12 meter yacht Nefertiti with Ted Hood and Don McNamara. He was longtime member of Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead where he raced his IOD class and Tartan 41 sloops, that were named Drummer Boy.

“If you raced in Marblehead during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, you saw a lot of his transom,” said Ken Block. “The only way to avoid this was to sit on the rail next to him.”

David was the owner and proprietor of the Fife and Drum Stores in Marblehead which specialized in Yacht Wear. While operating the stores, David realized he could manufacture the merchandise with better quality and value and decided to start his own manufacturing operation in Salem at the Pequot Mills Shetland Properties. He eventually closed his retail store and put all of his interests into his manufacturing company YRI.

Surviving him in addition to his wife Sally I. (Murphy) Smith are two children, Judson A. Smith and Tamis A. Smith both of Marblehead and grandfather of Haley Swain of Portland, OR, Lindsay Smith of Newport, RI, Darby Smith of St. Petersburg, FL and Lindy Miller of Marblehead and several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Smith’s Memorial Services will be announced at a later date. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to the Pleon Yacht Club, 42 Foster St., Marblehead, MA 01945.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Murphy Funeral Home, 85 Federal St., Salem. For additional information or on line guest book, please call 781-631-8885 or click here.

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