Memorial Bench For Annie Davis Update: New Location

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Feb 202020

Annie “Elf Mama” Davis was a huge part of the Orange Community, For more than 20 years, she took the reigns of the OVFD Auxiliary’s Santa’s Helper program and helped bring joy to thousands of children and families across town. She also was a founding member of the Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Monday, Sept. 23, Annie passed away at the hospital after having a heart attack.

The friends of Annie Davis would like to purchase a memorial bench for the Orange Fairgrounds with Annie’s name on it so she will never be forgotten.

UPDATE: After some discussion at this week’s CERT meeting, a vote was taken and the majority decided that a better place for the bench would be in front of Fire Station #2 on the Boston Post Road where Annie worked for many years, and which served as Santa’s Helper Headquarters since day one. 

According to CERT spokesman Ken Lyke, the fire department personnel has agreed to placing the bench there, and so it will be.

We are still a little short on our goal, but we are confident that the bench will be in place this spring, possibly as soon as April. 

The cost of the bench, with an engraved plaque and installation, is $1,500 and we need your help to make our goal.

The Friends of Annie Davis’s Memorial Bench collection is being done in cooperation with the Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and we still need to raise $400. This could have been accomplished, for example, by soliciting $10 from just 40 families in Orange. 

We are working on different ways to get the money so that we can dedicate the bench by spring as a continual reminder to the townspeople about just how wonderful and dedicated Annie was to this town.

Anyone who’d like to help us with the funding, please send a check made out to “Friends of Annie Davis” to Friends of Annie Davis, 131 Clark Street, Milford, CT 06460. Any denomination would be greatly appreciated.

We have a Friends of Annie Davis Bank Account at Bank of America where all monies collected for the bench are being deposited.

Thank You, if you already have made a donation!

A Look Back: The Final Goodbye To Tim Smith

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Jan 282020

(photo submitted by Kirk Kolligian)

Saturday, Jan. 25, the day of Tim Smith’s funeral.

Note: short video clip links are highlighted in red

As cars and first responders’ vehicles filled the parking lot at Holy Infant Church, Mother Nature gave us hope that she’d show a little mercy, until 9:18 a.m. when it began to drizzle. 

Around 9:35 a.m. the rain was so fine that it was almost unnoticeable as Firemen, police officers, EMTs and other first responders from countless cities and towns lined up along the driveway in front of the church with assorted honor guards, and waited.

Three CT Drum and Bagpipe units lined up on the lawn across from the church.

Inside Holy Infant Church, mourners sat quietly and listened. Then the sound of the police motorcycles leading the funeral procession could be heard as they motored up Racebrook Road and turned into the side street under the arch from the ladder trucks displaying a large American Flag. They proceeded through the rear parking lot followed by a police SUV, vehicles from the Fire Marshal’s office, the Muster Truck carrying Tim’s body, and all of the emergency vehicles in the procession.  When the motorcycles reached the front of the church the last of the fire trucks in the procession were entering under the flag. 

The distinctive sound of the bagpipes permeated the air as the pallbearers reached up to remove the casket from the truck, then in perfect unison, all three units began to play, the bass drums keeping time as they carried the casket into the church. Click HERE for video.

Someone from the fire service carried Tim’s turnout gear to the front of the church where it was carefully placed on display. Firefighters escorted Tim’s family members to the front pews and the mass of the Christian Burial began.

A friend read heartfelt tributes from Tim’s girlfriend, Terri and girls, followed by Deputy Fire Marshal Jamie Vincent’s thoughtfully crafted eulogy.

Jamie held his emotions together the best he could as he shared humorous snippets from their experiences over the years, both as friends and professionally. A little thing, like a description of how Tim would greet visitors to his office, by removing his glasses, leaning back in his chair, and so on, brought so many back to happier days.

We could only imagine how unbearably painful it was for Jamie to respond to the accident scene just six days prior, knowing that this was not just any victim, only to have Fire Chief Sean Rowland have all of the first responders line up to make way for him. Jamie thanked Rowland and everyone who was there for this thoughtful gesture.

A short time later, inside the church, came the heartbreaking final alarm, transmitted by the Orange Police Dispatcher. First a tone, then the message, captured at the end of Amy Williams’ video (her father, Art, an Orange firefighter, saved it on his radio).

“All units be advised that car 39, Fire Marshal Tim Smith has responded to his final alarm and is now off the air. Fire Marshal Smith, your service to the citizens of Orange, the Orange Fire Marshal’s office and your loving dedication to your family and friends will not be forgotten. God Speed Tim, we’ll take the watch from here.”

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the church, but by then I was outside.

The air seemed a bit more chilly and the sky began to cry, still not a downpour, but it was definitely more uncomfortable. Prior to taking their places on the lawn, the bagpipers exited the building together and made sure everything would be perfect for the final farewell. Moments later first responders came out of the church and began to line up along the driveway. Traffic on Racebrook Road slowed down as it passed the church grounds.

Everyone snapped to attention and saluted, and the bagpipes began their sad song, when the pallbearers emerged from the shelter of the church and awning and slowly walked to the muster truck, some were stoic while others choked back tears before lifting the casket onto the truck. The men and women lining the driveway slowly lowered their arms but remained at attention. Click HERE for video. Strains of Amazing Grace permeated the air and it was time to say goodbye.

After the pallbearers settled into the vehicles, the first responders and bagpipe units snapped to attention again.  The muster truck and its escorts slowly pulled away, leaving those who knew Tim behind with nothing but their memories and hearts filled with love.

“Every Life is noted and is cherished, and nothing loved is ever lost or perished.” — Madeleine L’Engle


A Look Back: Calling Hours For Tim Smith Were Well Planned

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Jan 252020

As expected with any high-profile wake, the line to pay respects to Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith was constant. 

The Cody White Funeral Home was prepared to welcome mourners, with roped off serpentine lines in two large rooms prior to entering the viewing room. Each had photo memory boards with images of Tim with his daughters, Hannah and Alexa; his girlfriend, Terri; a big fish he caught (later revealed that Terri caught it and handed it over for the photo op) before he let it loose, and other happy times that his family wanted to share. 

TV screens also ran slide shows, and the walls were lined with flower arrangements and his turnout gear and a few personal items like the wooden train set he’d made that had graced his office for a time. 

Although some people did catch up with old friends, the mood was somber, most friends admitting they were still in shock. Everyone fell silent when they entered the final room. Occasionally the line was interrupted by on-duty first responders who’d come by to pay their respects. 

When I came through, Deputy Fire Marshal Jamie Vincent was standing by with Tim’s family, offering a greeting, then introducing visitors to Terri and the two girls they would know with whom they were speaking. Tim’s sister was seated in the front row as well.

ln the rear parking lot, a fire department canteen truck served coffee and water and an ambulance stood by in case it was needed. 

Everything was meticulously planned, Tim deserved nothing less. 

This Is So Beautiful

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Jan 232020

The CT Fire Marshal’s Association posted the most beautiful tribute to Tim Smith on its Facebook Page.

The Image speaks volumes. Thank you to whomever designed it. He deserved nothing less.

Here Is The Route The OVFD Will Take To Escort Tim Smith’s Body To The Church

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Jan 232020

(OVFD Facebook)

Orange firefighters today announced the route they will take as they escort Fire Marshal Tim Smith from the Cody White Funeral Home in Milford to the Holy Infant Church in Orange for his funeral on Saturday.

Tim’s life will be celebrated at a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Holy Infant Church, 450 Racebrook Road in Orange. His body will be carried to the church on the back of an Orange fire engine and accompanied by other apparatus from the Orange Fire Department, the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office and the family.

The procession, escorted by Milford and Orange police, will leave Cody White about 9:15 a.m.  It will travel down South Broad Street to New Haven Avenue and turn onto Prospect Street to North Street. From North Street, it will proceed across the Boston Post Road to Orange Avenue and down to Burnt Plains Road. From Burnt Plains Road, the procession will turn on to Old Tavern Road and proceed to Orange Center Road. 

At Orange Center, the procession will turn right and head to Boston Post Road, where it will turn left. The line of vehicles will pass Orange Volunteer Fire Department Station 2, where Smith’s office was located. When the line reaches Racebrook Road, it will turn left and head to Holy Infant Church.

Fire officials say the procession is limited to Orange apparatus, the police escort and family vehicles. Visiting apparatus are asked to go directly to the Holy Infant Church, where parking will be available for apparatus and guest cars. If additional parking is needed, it will be available at Saint Barbara’s Church.

Parking and a shuttle bus also will be available at Racebrook Country Club, 246 Derby Ave.  Personnel will be on scene to direct guests to parking.

Click HERE for Wake and Funeral Information

Column: Words Can’t Express Just How Loved Tim Smith Was (and Is)

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Jan 232020

The town of Orange has been reeling from the news of Tim’s passing and everyone had something to share. 

Tammy Trantales, from the Zoning Office, said she just saw Tim last week when he stopped by and they had a lovely chat. “He was planning on retiring in 6 years after his girls got out of college,” she said. “He was such a wonderful man, always pleasant and kind and he had a terrific smile.”

Zoning Enforcement Officer, Paul Dinice, an avid fly fisherman was Tim’s fishing buddy. 

He said, “His passing is a great loss to the town. I personally remember all of the good times we shared (fishing) and I will always treasure those moments with him.”

Selectman Mitch Goldblatt described Smith as a town official, a father and a friend. Stating, It’s a great loss to our community.

Goldblatt said, “He was certainly a professional in everything he did. He was respected by fire departments across the state, and an asset to the community with his knowledge of drones and for getting grants for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to distribute at no cost to Orange residents.”

He continued, “Tim was always smiling and looked at the positive side of everything. He was friendly with everybody. I was privileged to be his friend. Our daughters played field hockey at Amity together and he was at every game. His daughters were his pride and joy. He was a wonderful father who loved his daughters so much.” 

Emergency briefing 2012

Others, who passed through the Fire Marshal’s office for one reason or another also recalled their last encounters with Tim. 

Marianne Miller of the Orange Lions Club stopped by last week to get a permit for the upcoming Wine Tasting fundraiser.

She, like Trantales, said, “He was the sweetest man. He always had time for you when you needed him and he was always so professional in everything he did.” She added, “He was so young, it’s a great loss to the town. I feel so sad for his daughters and everyone who knew him.”

Tim at a fire scene (pre drone era)

Orange resident Denise Mirto, a real estate agent and Tim’s friend said she was shocked by the news and recounted how she’d seen him in his office on Friday. “We discussed business first, then he told me all about his daughters and what they’ve been doing. He was such a wonderful man. This is such a loss to the whole town, he’ll be sorely missed.”

First Selectman Jim Zeoli echoed what everyone else has been saying. He said, “Tim was such an important part of the community. I’ve known him for more than 30 years, and it hurts to lose him in such a tragic way. I feel so bad for his daughters, but it is great seeing the fire department rallying around them.”


On a personal note, I met Tim 25 years ago when I was first hired at the Amity Observer newspaper. Annie Davis was his secretary, and Jamie Vincent was (and still is) the Deputy Fire Marshal.

Drone Training Jul 13, 2017

As a rookie reporter without a clue, Tim always made my job easy. Over the years he included me in countless events. “Jump in the truck,” he’d say and he’d bring me to a fire demonstration at UNH, or a drone training session at Old Tavern ballpark, even tagging along for the emergency operations during Hurricane Sandy.

After a fire call I would wait an hour or two, and then I’d call Tim for a comment. He would always answer the phone or call back immediately. He was so accommodating. After I had a couple of strokes 10 years ago, Tim knew that I had issues with comprehension and concentration and he would work with me until he knew I had everything I needed for a story.

Another thing about Tim is that he loved dogs. When I had my golden retriever, Baron, I’d let him off-leash and he’d make a bee-line for Tim’s office where he was greeted with open arms. Tim, of course would be wearing dark pants, which were a magnet for Baron’s fur. Although I’d warn him, he’d still call the dog over to his side of the desk and rough house with him.

The same went for my little Sapsaree, Mi Sun, she really doesn’t shed (she has hair, not fur) but she adored Tim and he’d treat her like one of his own.

Tim was an amazing woodworker, he made the most beautiful toy trucks, and custom pens. He was always willing to help when someone needed assistance. I am lucky enough to have a piece from his workshop. Several years ago, someone unwittingly destroyed an antique shelving unit. I knew he did woodworking and asked if he could help fix it. I gave him a box with dozens of splintered, impossible to match pieces of wood. Wide-eyed, he looked at the pile, and said, “no problem.” In a couple of weeks, he called and asked me to come to his office, where he presented me with my beautiful scroll-sided family heirloom, this time painted white. He said it didn’t look very pretty with natural wood stain  anymore, but it was solid.  I proudly hung the shelves on my living room wall, and now it has an even deeper meaning for me.

Tim had an amazing sense of humor, and he was a great storyteller. Here is a video that I shot during Fire Inspector Cliff Burns’ retirement party three years ago that shows off Tim’s delightful personality. If I recall correctly, the gift Tim gave Cliff was one of his custom-made wood pens. 

Tim, you were really something special, one of a kind. We already miss you.

Orange Community Women Present Mad Science!

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Jan 232020

Here is a fun family event for all ages, mark your calendar for Saturday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. when the Orange Community Women present Mad Science at the High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road.

Mad Science stage shows have been captivating audiences of all ages for more than 30 years. 

This spectacular show thrills audiences with impressive science experiments including foggy dry ice storms and giant beach balls floating in the air.

Advance tickets are $5 (or $7 at the door) get yours now by contacting Michelle at 203-605-4383 or by e-mail at fbailey1@optonline.net or from any member of OCW

Obituary: Timothy (Tim) Smith, 56, Beloved Father, Friend, Fire Marshal

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Jan 222020

Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith

Timothy Patrick Smith, 56, of Prospect, passed away unexpectedly on January 19, 2020. Born on August 21, 1963 in New Haven, he was the son of the late George and Dorothy Smith.

Tim was a native of Orange, and an Amity alumni. He became a volunteer firefighter in 1984, Deputy Fire Marshal in 1986, and appointed Fire Marshal in 1989. He was part of many organizations including the International Association of Arson Investigations, CT State Fire Marshals Associations, and the NFPA. Tim also received several awards for fire prevention and investigation in the town of Orange. Everyone in his neighborhood and the town knew they could call on him any day of the week for his help in their homes, fixing and building anything they needed.

Anyone who knew Tim, knows that he was an extremely skilled woodworker. On most days, you could find him in his workshop making furniture, wooden trucks, trains, jewelry boxes and just about anything you could think of. He had just began a business personalizing wooden pens. Tim was also exceptionally talented at building vintage and WWII model airplanes. This included a love for flying, enjoying anytime he was able to ride in a helicopter. He would attend airshows with his daughters, sharing his detailed knowledge about the history of each plane, battle, etc. His daughter, Hannah, had decided to become a History major at UConn because of him.

During warmer weather, Tim loved to fish, especially fly-fishing at his favorite river spot in Cornwall, CT and near Charles Island in Milford. Tim impressively tied his own flies, part of the reason he would always snag a fish. He was an avid sports fan and member of the Amity Field Hockey Men’s Club, supporting his daughter, Alexa, as goalie. He enjoyed horseback riding with his girlfriend, Terri. He loved his animals dearly, which included his horse, Harley, and many dogs and chickens.

Tim leaves behind his beloved daughters, Hannah and Alexa Smith; loving girlfriend, Terri Philibert; mother of his daughters, Margaret Puddester-Smith; siblings, Katherine (Richard) Berluti and David A. Smith; nieces and nephews, Matthew, Jessica, Melissa, Garrett, Danielle, David “D.J.”, Chrissy, Cassie, Brian, and Amanda; and many friends. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Smith.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 10 a.m. at Holy Infant Church, 450 Racebrook Rd., Orange (MEET DIRECTLY AT CHURCH). Interment will be private. Friends and family may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020 at the CODY-WHITE FUNERAL HOME, 107 Broad Street Milford, CT 06460. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Orange Volunteer Fire Association, P.O. box 878, Orange, CT 06477 for a scholarship set up for both of Tim’s daughters. To leave online condolences, visit www.codywhitefuneralservice.com.

Orange Fire Department Posts Funeral Arrangements for Fire Marshal Tim Smith

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Jan 222020

Hundreds expected to pay respects to fire marshal killed in the line of duty Sunday

Firefighters, police and municipal officials from across Connecticut and beyond are expected to pay their respects this weekend to Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith, who died in the line of duty Sunday.

Working on behalf of the family, First Selectman James Zeoli, Orange Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas and Deputy Fire Marshal James Vincent laid out the plans to accommodate Smith’s family and members of the public safety community who wish to attend Friday’s wake and Saturday’s funeral.

Here are the details:

Wake – Friday, Jan. 24

Smith’s wake will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Cody White Funeral Home, 107 Broad Street, Milford. An honor guard is being provided by members of the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office and the Orange Volunteer Fire Association, as well as members from surrounding departments who worked with Smith. In addition, the Connecticut Statewide Honor Guard will be assisting.

Except for on-duty personnel, those attending the wake are asked to enter from the rear of the building. On-duty personnel can enter the front of the funeral home. They will be escorted to the front of the line so they can pay their respects and get back on duty.

Parking arrangements are:

  • The Cody-White parking lot (2) is reserved for the family and handicapped guests.
  • The public and individual firefighters are asked to park in the Milford Senior Center lot on Jepson Drive (3).  If the Jepson Drive lot fills up, additional parking will be available behind the Milford courthouse, 14 W. River St.  A shuttle bus will run between those locations and the funeral home.
  • Berchem Moses PC, attorneys, have made their parking lot at 75 Broad St. (4) available. It is designated for public safety chiefs with official cars and municipal officials.
  • On-duty personnel can park their vehicles on the eastbound side of Broad Street opposite the funeral home.

Because of the number of people expected, Nelson Ambulance will have an EMS unit standing by and Milford Fire will have their canteen truck available.

Funeral – Saturday, Jan. 25

Tim Smith’s life will be celebrated at a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Holy Infant Church, 450 Racebrook Road in Orange. Parking will be available at the church. If additional parking is needed, it will be available at Saint Barbara’s Church. Personnel will be on the scene to direct guests to parking. There is no graveside service.

A repast is scheduled after the funeral at the Racebrook Country Club, 246 Derby Ave.

As is the tradition for fallen firefighters, Smith will be transported from the funeral home to the church on the back of a fire engine, accompanied by an honor guard. Apparatus from many area departments are expected to be part of the procession. The funeral will feature bagpipers from three pipe-and-drum groups, a last dispatch to honor Smith, the ringing of a ceremonial fire bell and the presentation of a flag and Smith’s helmet to his family.

During the wake and funeral, firefighters from Ansonia, Oxford, North Branford and East Haven will be in Orange to respond to alarms.  AMR will post an ambulance near the church.

Smith was called to the scene of a house fire Sunday afternoon to investigate the cause. After he completed the investigation, he was headed home when he was killed in a one-vehicle motor vehicle accident. The crash is still under investigation by the Woodbridge Police Dept. and the Connecticut State Police accident reconstruction team.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support from the fire and police departments in surrounding towns,” said Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas. “While we work to help Tim’s family and friends, including members of our own department and the Fire Marshal’s office, the sympathy, support and very real commitment of time and resources from these other departments is helping Orange firefighters pay tribute to Tim and mourn his loss.”

Lady Spartan Hoopster Jillian Martin Joins The 1,000 Point Club

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Jan 182020

The Paul D. Mengold Gymnasium at Amity High School was electric on Friday night. Fans in the stands anxiously clutched their yellow sheets of paper waiting for that golden moment. Senior Jillian Martin had 999 career points under her belt and needed just one more to join the previous 12 Amity boys and girls who scored 1,000 points in the past.

There is no ‘I’ in T.E.A.M.

Like a true team player, Jillian didn’t hog the ball and try to make her mark, rather she passed it to her teammates when they were open and played the game as she always had.

Then, with 5:44 remaining in the first quarter, Jillian stood on the foul line for a shot and nailed it. The crowd roared, and stood up in the stands holding their sheets of paper with “1,000” printed on them, teammates ran in with a banner and four giant gold helium balloons and amongst the hugs and smiles, made a bee line to center court for the congratulatory photo ops.

Congratulations Jillian, You EARNED This!

After a minute or two, the referee blew his whistle, everyone cleared the court and the game continued.

Hillhouse fought hard, but they simply couldn’t stay ahead of our Lady Spartans.

See game story to be published soon.