Duncan Smith

  • Died: August 2, 2017
  • Location: Peabody, Massachusetts

Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home

Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home
167 Maple Street, Danvers, MA 01923

anthony@odonnellfuneralservice.com
Tel. (978) 774-6600

Tribute & Message From The Family


ACCOMPLISHED DESIGNER & MUSEUM DIRECTOR

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Duncan by adding your memories and photos.

PEABODY - Mr. Duncan Smith, 88, of Peabody, died August 2, 2017, surrounded by his family and friends. Designated a 'Great Bostonian' by Mayor Kevin White's Boston Jubilee 350 Committee, he had a long career in the museum and design professions around Boston & New England. Duncan was known for his quick wit, political insight, and ability to communicate complex ideas in both pen and voice; he inspired and mentored many associates with his knowledge of all things technical, his enthusiasm, humor, and charm. He will be greatly missed.

Born in Chicago to Esther Loud Smith and Arthur Hensley Smith, Duncan's love of his adopted city began when he moved to Cambridge at the age of 14. He was an enthusiastic contra dancer in his youth, dancing with Ralph Page, and was a passionate lover of music, especially Baroque and Chamber Music, early Jazz and Bluegrass.

After attending Browne and Nichols School and Oberlin College, he co-founded Contemporary Woodworkers, designing and building fine furniture from 1955 to1964. His work was exhibited in the Boston Arts Festival and at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York.

In 1965 he became head exhibit designer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. There, he designed the Classical, Medieval, and Egyptian galleries and Forsyth Wickes Collection. When the Museum of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York collaborated on the 1000th Anniversary of the City of Cairo, Duncan was sent to Cairo to design and install this international exhibition. In addition, he designed over 50 traveling exhibitions between 1965 and 1970.

In 1970 Smith assumed the directorship of the Museum of Transportation in Brookline, MA. His interest in the social history of transportation led to the expansion of the museum's collections beyond antique autos, introducing changing exhibitions, extensive educational programming, and special events at Larz Anderson Park in Brookline. Under Duncan's leadership, the Museum teamed up with Michael Spock and the Boston Children's Museum to create Museum Wharf on the Fort Point Channel in 1979. He served on the Boston Bicentennial Commission and on other cultural and educational boards.

In 1981 Duncan co-founded Boston Museum Design Group (later Museum Design Associates) with David Seibert. Their collaboration yielded exhibits such as New England Begins at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Western Gateway Heritage Park in North Adams, MA, and Lobstering & The Maine Coast at the Maine Maritime Museum, among many others. Duncan also designed The Elegant Auto: Fashion & Design in the 1930's for the Portland Museum of Art. He retired in 2002.

Smith was a lifelong sailor and was one of the founders of Constitution Marina in Charlestown, MA. For many years, the Smiths summered on Deer Isle, Maine where Duncan was involved with the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. In retirement he returned to his passion for making small and large-scale mobiles, exhibiting and selling them in galleries. He was designing and creating these up to the time of his death.

Smith is survived by his wife Joan Fowler Smith, of Peabody, MA; his daughter Pi Smith, of Thetford, VT; his stepdaughter Sherri Fowler-Nagle, of Rowley, MA; his daughter Cary Smith Mondschean and her husband Thomas Mondschean, of Evanston, IL; his stepson, Kevin Fowler and his wife Mary Fowler, of Shrewsbury, MA; and his daughter Alexandra Smith Trusty and her husband Ryan Trusty, of Manchester, NH. He also leaves his grandchildren, in order of birth, Jeffrey Michael Nagle, David Ryan Fowler, Sara Katherine Nagle, Deborah Marie Fowler, Julia Hunter Mondschean, Abigail Louise Fowler, Anna Louisa Mondschean, Madeline Anne Fowler, Zia Bumpus Smith and Fiona Duncan Trusty. Smith's first wife, Jean Chapin Smith, predeceased him.

ARRANGEMENTS: A celebration and party will be planned at a later date. Assisting the family with the arrangements is the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home 167 Maple St., (rte 62) Danvers. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Duncan's memory to the Joan and Duncan Smith Scholarship Fund, Maine College of Art, Portland, ME. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit www.odonnellfuneralservice.com


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear Joan,

My heart goes out to you as I often recall and think about, how the magnificent duo Joan and Duncan shined in my eyes. I just learned of Duncan's passing today and only wished I had known him longer. I imagine he's busy in his new found freedom of adventures and tucked gently in your hearts pocket.

With great gratitude to you both and my condolences to you with love,

Posted by Jo-Ann Castano - Gloucester, MA   November 20, 2017

It now has been almost four months since Dunc's Passing. Not any easier to accept for me.
Much love, Joan

Posted by Joan Smith - Peabody, MA - spouse   November 19, 2017

Duncan marched with zeal to his own drum, and so many of us were fortunate and enchanted to march with him. A man of ideas and action, he shared his many interests with passion and a glint in his eye. Never forgotten - always loved and admired.

Posted by Marcia Brooks - Roslindale, MA - friend   October 05, 2017

10/8/10 Happy to be driving in VT!

Posted by Joan Smith - spouse   September 07, 2017

Posted by Joan Smith    August 27, 2017

Posted by Chris Custer    August 22, 2017

Posted by Chris Custer    August 22, 2017

Posted by Chris Custer    August 22, 2017

Great Man and wonderful friend.

Posted by Bob Mehrman - friend   August 20, 2017

Dear Joan and Family, I am saddened to hear of Duncan's passing. As he was my employer, ultimately, at the Museum of Transportation, I was grateful for his support, and I remained inspired by his ongoing creativity. Thank you for compiling such a heart-warming collection of photographs here. I am pleased by this evidence of his loving family, and I shall keep you all in my daily prayers as you move forward in this difficult time.

Posted by Bob Kerrigan - Boston, MA - friend   August 17, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Cary Smith Mondschean - Evanston, IL - daughter   August 10, 2017

Posted by Joan Smith - Peabody, MA - spouse   August 09, 2017

Posted by Joan Smith - Peabody, MA - spouse   August 09, 2017

Posted by Joan Smith - Peabody, MA - spouse   August 09, 2017

Posted by Joan Smith - Peabody, MA - spouse   August 09, 2017

Posted by Joan Smith - Peabody, MA - spouse   August 09, 2017

Dunc left his singular mark on the world and in our family. The pieces of his art in our home will always represent the joie de vivre that he emanated. I cherish memories of wonderful times, and all that we learned from him. Duncan and family are forever in the hall of fame in my heart.

Posted by Diane Brooks Ring - MA - Family Friend   August 08, 2017

Great man. He will be missed

Posted by Robert S Mehrman - neighbor   August 07, 2017

Our hearts are with you sending light and love to the whole family during this time of loss.

Posted by Cathy and John Vansant - Hanover, NH   August 07, 2017

Awfully sorry to hear of Duncan's demise. My sincere condolences to Joan and all of his family.
I had the pleasure of working with Duncan while he was the Director of the Museum of Transportation in Brookline and collaborated with Mike Spock on the move in to "Museum Wharf" in Boston. I learned a lot from him, which proved very helpful as I pursued my own career in the "museum biz" as an educator and director.
Renny Little

Posted by Warren M, Little - Cambridge, MA   August 07, 2017

Joan: Bob and I had such happy memories of our association with you and Duncan at MOT. I especially remember the cold winter night on the boat at Constitutional Wharf. Thinking of you.
Kitty Sturgis

Posted by Kitty Sturgis - Sherborn, MA - Friend   August 07, 2017

Posted by Pi Smith    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017

Posted by Alexandra Trusty    August 06, 2017


Family Album


Community Photos

Duncan, April 2012, while preparing for one of his mobile shows.
Duncan's piece in the Pingree School's Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, Sept. 2011.
Another shot of Dunc preparing for a gallery show with some of his creations and a little mischief.
Dunc left his singular mark on the world and in our family. The pieces of his art in our home will always represent the joie de vivre that he emanated. I cherish memories of wonderful times, and all that we learned from him. Duncan and family are forever in the hall of fame in my heart.