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Ben Smith

Research Vessel Captain

Friend, captain, mentor, artist, and resident curmudgeon, Ben Smith passed away on August 31, 2016. His wisdom and experience were the keys to many successful cruises, research efforts, and theses. His beautiful paintings delighted us and his infectious laughter put a smile on many a face at CCOM. We will miss Ben terribly. 

Benjamin Stevens Smith

An adventurous man of many talents, Capt. Ben Smith died in the comfort of his home and the arms of his beloved wife, Gretchen. He had a delight and wonder of the world that brightened every conversation. A magician, watercolor artist, captain of a research vessel, teacher of meditation, author, actor, architect, electrical, civil and software engineer, Ben had a joie de vivre that was enjoyed by many people around the world. He loved debate, was strongly opinionated, enjoyed a passion for quality rum, played harmonica, listened to all kinds of music and—despite his sometimes gruff persona—was kind, patient, and gentle. His favorite project was designing the interior of a Spray sailboat, Mother of Perl. He supervised its construction in Estonia and, with his family, sailed through the Baltic and the Caribbean.

Ben was born in Connecticut, completed high school in Arizona, served in the military in Alaska and spent his last 30 years based in New Hampshire. He was captain of the R/V Gulf Surveyor for the University of New Hampshire when he died.

Ben is survived by his wife Gretchen, his son Johannes Reneau Smith from his first marriage, and his stepchildren—Kristen and Thomas Forbes.