Bert Page Smith, a retired mechanical engineer who spent 25 years restoring a pre-Civil War house in historic Dickeyville, died Friday of heart failure at Timber Ridge Nursing Center in Dunnellon, Fla. He was 96.
Mr. Smith was born in Washington, the son of Elbert Lucian Smith, who was chief of staff to an Arkansas congressman.
He was raised in Washington and Arkansas, and returned to Pine Bluff with his family in 1923. After graduating from Pine Bluff High School in 1931, he attended George Washington University in Washington.
He often recalled attending Easter egg roll contests on the White House lawn when Woodrow Wilson was president, the day World War I ended and 25 cent haircuts in the House of Representatives' barbershop, said his son, Bert Pendleton Smith of Hampden.
Mr. Smith was a painter and artist as a young man. During World War II, he worked at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina.
In 1943, he moved to the Lone Star ordnance plant near Texarkana, Texas, where, as a draftsman he designed packing, transportation and loading systems for artillery shells, aerial bombs and detonation fuses.
In 1947, he moved to Baltimore and took a job as a mechanical engineer at Whitman Requardt and Associates, where he designed and monitored the construction of water treatment, purification and filtration plants in Maryland and Virginia. He was certified a Professional Engineer in 1963 and retired in 1977.
He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Mr. Smith and his wife, the former Kathryn Adele Lee, whom he married in 1939, moved to a cottage on Wetheredsville Road in Dickeyville in 1949.
During the restoration of the cottage, he restored antique period furniture and built custom bookcases and cabinets.
Mr. Smith, who had been an active member and former president of the Dickeyville Association, helped the village get listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since 1977, he had lived in Dunnellon.
At Mr. Smith's request, no services are to be held.
Also surviving are a daughter, Kathryn Page Morgan of Dunnellon; a sister, Elizabeth Blandin of Greensboro, N.C.; a granddaughter; a great-grandson; and a great-great grandson. Mrs. Smith died in 2000.
Frederick N. Rasmussen