By Sue Wambolt,? Contributing Writer
Westborough – Tom Smith grew up in Westborough with his brothers Paul and John and his sisters Mary (Cullen), Marguerite (Kerr), Sharrie (Grady) and Jean. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, taught at the US Naval Academy (retiring as a commander) and then retired as the director of information technologies at the Mass Educational Financing Authority (MEFA). Tom was diagnosed with primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2006, a battle he lost in 2011. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, his daughters Heather, Heidi and Meagan, their spouses and his granddaughters.
“Tom's legacy was one of loyalty, service and honoring commitments.?He was loyal to his family, to his country and to MEFA,” shared his sister, Marguerite.
In honor of Tom's memory, his family ?will be hosting the “Open Your Heart to MS” fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Knights of Columbus, 17 Willow St., Westborough, beginning at 8 p.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit the annual three day, 50 Mile MS Challenge Walk and the New England Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. A $10 donation at the door is suggested.
The fundraiser will feature music performed and donated by local band SnG. The band has been together just one year and is an eclectic group of individuals united by their love of music and their desire to help worthy causes (they have played for two Dana Farber Cancer Institute ?fundraisers). The SnG playlist includes music from?the 50's, 60's and 70's.?Band members are professionals by day and musicians by night. SnG includes:? Brad Smith (guitar, vocals/teacher), Steve Bolivar (guitar, vocals/attorney), Mike Dacri (bass, vocals/IT professional), Joe Savitt (keyboards, vocals/doctor), Russell Schwartz (percussion, vocals/attorney) and Tom Radogna (sound engineer, vocals/engineer).
According to Tom's sisters, the fundraiser is a suitable way to honor his memory.
“Tom was wonderfully humored, loved a party and loved to dance!?It seemed a fitting tribute to have such an event,” said Jean.?”He was all about building strong connections with those he loved and mentored.”
“Despite his personal struggle, he was so focused on all of us and was always delighting in the accomplishments of his family, cherishing his time with all of us,” added Marguerite.
In September Tom's sisters will lace up for the three- day, 50 Mile MS Challenge Walk for the fifth time. It is personal for them. They walk to stay connected in their fight against MS, each step one step closer to a cure.
“We walk to tell?Tom's story and hear those of others whose lives are touched by MS.?We walk to bring awareness and financial support for research and services to those with MS.?We walk because we can, and it seems like such a small excursion in light of?Tom's journey,” said Jean.
The Smith family said they would like to thank those who have helped to make the fundraiser possible: SnG, ?Knights of Columbus, Avellino's, ACE Hardware, Bernie and Phyl's, Jenny Boston,? Owen O’Leary's, LD Wine and Beer, Uno's and J.P.s Restaurant.
For more information about the 50 Mile MS Challenge or to make an online donation, visit the MS Challenge website for Tom Smith's team at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/index.aspx, then click on events, challenge walk, sponsor a walker, team and then type in Tom Smith.