Willie J. Smith, 78, of Milford and formerly of Bedford passed away Dec. 30 at Genesis Milford Center. Born in Mobile, Alabama, he was the son of the late Delma (Butler) and Booker Smith. He was the husband of the late Claudia (Emerson) Smith, who passed away July 2003.
An Army veteran, Willie was a graduate of Tuskegee University with a degree in electrical engineering and held an MBA from Suffolk University. Willie moved from St. Louis to Bedford with wife Claudia, and he worked at Raytheon Corporation in Bedford to help develop missile guidance systems. He worked briefly at the MIT Research Corporation in Burlington before taking on a position at Analytical Systems Engineering Corporation (ASEC) in Burlington. At ASEC, he rose from engineering project manager, working on such projects as missile defense systems for the government of Saudi Arabia, and eventually was chosen as vice president of the company.
He was a member of the Frank W. Thompson AFAM Masonic Lodge in Bedford. He was on the Board of Trustees at Middlesex Community College in Bedford. He taught curriculum at Middlesex Community College, Northeastern University and Suffolk University. He also was the Director of Administration in the Essex Correctional Facility in Middleton.
Willie is survived by his two sons, Christopher Edward Smith and his wife, Stephanie, of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and Brian Emerson Smith and his wife, Heather, of Hopkinton. He also leaves behind six grandchildren, Ashley Denisse Magana, Marissa Ann Smith, Christopher David Smith, Olivia Marie Smith, Kimberly Guapalupe Smith and Kylie MacKenzie Smith; his half-brother, Charles J. Smith and his wife, Eunice, of Jackson, Michigan; his sister-in-law, Nettie Smith of Macon, Georgia; his brother and sister-in-law Andre and Marie Mitchom of Centreville, Illinois; and nieces Rene Butler and Monique Nichols. He is predeceased by two brothers, Booker Smith Jr. and Alphonse Smith.
A Masonic service was held Jan. 4 at the Chesmore Funeral Home of Hopkinton (ChesmoreFuneralHome.com). Interment was held privately. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dementia Society of America, dementiasociety.org.