Woodward Reese "Wood" Smith, ironworker, dies

Woodward Smith

Woodward Reese "Wood" Smith, a retired ironworker who during his nearly 50-year career worked on some of the nation's most notable bridges, died July 13 of pneumonia at his Loch Raven Village home.

He was 93.

The son of a construction superintendent and a homemaker, Mr. Smith was born and raised in New Market, Pa., and was a 1935 graduate of New Cumberland High School.

Mr. Smith worked as a laborer for the Pennsylvania Railroad. After attending business college for a year in Harrisburg, he went to work for Bethlehem Steel Corp. at its Pottstown, Pa., plant.

Drafted into the Army in 1940, Mr. Smith was assigned to the 38th Engineer Regiment and sent to Ascension Island in 1942 to construct the first airfield there. His unit was then sent to the Belgian Congo to build an airfield.

Mr. Smith returned to the United States, where he graduated from officer candidate school and was commissioned a lieutenant. He then returned to Europe with the 1321st Engineer Regiment and was sent to Okinawa.

He moved to Essex in 1946, and was working at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point when he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He served stateside training engineering troops and was discharged with the rank of captain in 1952.

He was an original homeowner in Loch Raven Village, purchasing his house in 1949.

From 1955 to 1973, Mr. Smith, who was a member of Ironworkers Local 16 in Baltimore, commuted to New York City, where he worked for Harris Structural Steel Co. Inc. He returned to his Loch Raven Village home on weekends.

During his years with Bethlehem and Harris, Mr. Smith worked on the construction of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge, La., and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York.

Local projects included the second Bay Bridge, the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in Southern Maryland, and buildings at Sparrows Point.

After going to work for Whiting-Turner Construction Co. in 1973, he worked on the construction of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. He retired in 1983.

"He always said you couldn't drive through the Baltimore area without going over one of his bridges," said his son, W. Roger Smith of Eufaula, Okla.

Mr. Smith enjoyed exploring the Chesapeake Bay in his Boston Whaler and was an avid world traveler.

He was a founding member of Babcock Presbyterian Church, 8240 Loch Raven Blvd., where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Also surviving are his wife of 70 years, the former Norma Nadian Zeigler, a retired Baltimore County public school registered nurse; a daughter, Barbara Smith Law of Clarksville; a granddaughter; and two great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Judith Ann Smith, died earlier this year.