Joseph N. Smith, a retired telephone company employee and Army veteran of World War II, died of complications from renal cancer Thursday at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 80 and a resident of the Mercy Ridge retirement community in Timonium.
Born and raised in East Baltimore, Mr. Smith was nicknamed "Boots" from an early age. He graduated in 1944 from Mount St. Joseph High School, where he played soccer, ice hockey and baseball, and later was inducted into its Hall of Fame.
Drafted into the Army, he served in Europe in the latter part of World War II and attained the rank of corporal.
Returning to the Baltimore area, he married Margaret Z. Neubert and settled in Towson and later Reisterstown.
Mr. Smith worked for the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., starting as a cable splicer and retiring in 1988 as a sales manager.
He was a former member and president of the Reisterstown Lions Club and a deputy district governor of the volunteer service organization.
An avid traveler, he took trips to Australia, Russia and Turkey, South America, and the Panama Canal.
"He was someone who loved life," said a son, Daniel B. Smith of Annapolis. "No matter where we went in the world, he always ran into somebody he knew. They would be traveling around the world, and they would run into someone who he knew from work or from school."
Mr. Smith remained devoted to sports, playing golf and following teams on television - especially the Orioles and Baltimore Colts. "He invented the concept of 'picture by picture,'" said his son, referring to his father's practice of putting two televisions together so he could watch two events at the same time.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the chapel at Stella Maris, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road, Timonium.
In addition to his wife of 58 years and son, survivors include another son, Gregory A. Smith of Laurel; two daughters, Donna M. Miller of Ellicott City and Jeanne M. Smith of Catonsville; three grandchildren; and a great-grandson. Another son, Joseph D. Smith, died in 1990.