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Rebecca  "Becky"  Smith

Obituary for Rebecca "Becky" Smith

August 30, 1921 - August 21, 2021
Melrose, Massachusetts | Age 99

Owner of Tradewinds Gifts

Obituary

Rebecca "Becky" Smith, age 99, of Winchester and formerly of Melrose, died Saturday, August 21, 2021 at the Winchester Nursing Center, just nine days short of her 100th birthday. Born in Waterville, Maine on August 30, 1921, Rebecca was the daughter of the late Carl Robinson Green and Florence (Eaton) Green.

For 59 years, Rebecca was the beloved wife and best friend of the late Howard H. Smith. Her memory will be cherished and kept alive by her son, Jay Smith and his wife Jean of Winchester and her two granddaughters, Emily and Rachael Smith.

Intellectually ahead of her time and an extremely deep thinker, Rebecca graduated from Connecticut College in 1942 with honors, a number of language prizes, and a degree in French Literature. After graduation, Rebecca's talent for music and composition led her to study with the legendary maestro Carlos Salzedo – widely considered the greatest concert harpist in the world – at his summer harp colony in Camden, Maine. During this time, she and other harpists from around the globe immersed themselves in the groundbreaking Salzado Method, living together and practicing the harp upwards of eight hours every day. If you had been in Camden in the 1940's, you would have seen Rebecca and her fellow harp ensemble members giving summer concerts in the Camden Library Amphitheatre. Following many summers studying with Salzedo, Rebecca toured professionally with a number of New York City orchestras.

It was in New York that she met and fell in love with Howard Smith, who was at the time a student at Columbia University. Rebecca and Howard married in 1950 and relocated to Boston, where Howard was an architect and Rebecca worked in retail, learning about the luxury cosmetics market under Elizabeth Arden.

When Jay was born, Rebecca stayed at home to raise her son. Trying a part-time sales position in a local gift store when Jay was a teenager led Rebecca to start a new venture. In 1978, Rebecca defied convention and opened her own store in Melrose – selling classic giftware, home décor, unique jewelry, clothing, and women's accessories. Rebecca's remarkable style, extraordinary taste, and a genuine knack for selling led to Tradewinds Gifts quickly becoming a popular retail destination. For almost forty years, Rebecca thrived in her store helping countless customers with thoughtful suggestions on how to choose a perfect gift or special something. Indeed, many of those customers became friends who referred to store visits as "going to Becky's."

Shortly after her beloved Howard passed in 2009, Becky joined Jay and his family at their home in Winchester. She stayed involved with Tradewinds into her 90's, eventually closing the store in 2015. Even at 99, Becky retained her intellectual curiously, elegant fashion sense, and zest for life. She delighted in selecting a new outfit and jewelry to wear and hearing of family adventures. She followed the latest clothing trends, designed a zen garden, learned about Buddhism, and was an avid listener of classical music.

She will be dearly missed.

Relatives and friends are invited to gather during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Sunday, Sept. 5 from 2-4pm. Out of respect and concern for public health, all are kindly requested to wear face masks. Interment will be held privately at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Waterville, Maine. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to WCRB at www.wgbh.org/support/wcrb-donate, or the Asticou Azalea and Abby Rockefeller Garden Preserve, www.gardenpreserve.org/donate

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