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Ira L. Smith passes; VI’s first local Architect & Town Planner

Former civil servant and businessman Ira L. Smith, founder of Smith’s Ferry Service, passed away on Thursday April 5, 2018 at Peebles Hospital. Photo: VINO/File
The Sterling, a vessel operated by Smith’s Ferry Service founded by the late Mr Ira L. Smith. Photo: Internet Source
The Sterling, a vessel operated by Smith’s Ferry Service founded by the late Mr Ira L. Smith. Photo: Internet Source
The late Mr Ira L. Smith designed, among many other buildings in the Territory, the L-shaped Elmore Stoutt High School, which was unfortunately assaulted by Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO/File
The late Mr Ira L. Smith designed, among many other buildings in the Territory, the L-shaped Elmore Stoutt High School, which was unfortunately assaulted by Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Hours after the Territory learnt of the passing of a former Deputy Governor, family, friends and the boating community were also gripped with the sad news of the passing of another son of the soil, former civil servant and businessman Ira L. Smith.

Mr Smith passed away this morning, Thursday April 5, 2018 at Peebles Hospital after being ill for some time. He was 79 of age, having been born on April 18, 1938.

The late Mr Smith is survived by his wife Mrs Kather N. Maduro-Smith, a former Comptroller of Customs, and his mother Enlle Smith who will turn 100 in December of this year. He is also survived by many daughters and sons, including Karen B. Smith-Aaron, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue and a former BVI Horse Owner’s Association President.

Mr Smith is also the first cousin of current Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL).

He was a trail blazer

The deceased, an indigenous Virgin Islander, made history when he became the first local Architect and was assigned to the Government’s Public Works Department. He also was the first Town Planner of the Territory.  

In 1986 he founded Smith’s Ferry Service, which provides modern sea travel between the Virgin Islands and the United States Virgin Islands. Smith’s Ferry Service, along with Speedy’s Ferry Service, was a pioneer with inter islands sea transportation between Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Anegada.

According to one of his sons, Henry W. Smith aka ‘Will’, his dad in the 60s use to build sail boats, a skill he learnt from his late father Leopold Smith and transported residents to Virgin Gorda.

Mr Smith was also passionate about his country and political issues and from the late 1990s was a voice on call in radio and TV talk shows challenging the status quo, and was never afraid to speak his mind and fight for people.

His signature on the Road Town Skyline

One of his many lasting legacies will be in the professional area of Architecture where his signature can be seen on many buildings on Tortola. He was the architect that designed the Social Security Building in Road Town, the Sir Rupert Briercliffe Hall and was the first project manager of the old Peebles Hospital in the 1980s.

The businessman and boat captain also did the drawings for the Elmore Stoutt High School L-shaped building that can be seen from the Sunday Morning Well, along with many other public projects both on Tortola and Virgin Gorda. The late Mr Smith also encouraged and mentored many of the architects that came after him.

The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online offer our condolences to the immediate family and other loved ones of the late Ira L. Smith.

27 Responses to “Ira L. Smith passes; VI’s first local Architect & Town Planner”

  • Fam (05/04/2018, 17:16) Like (13) Dislike (4) Reply
    another good man has gone home
    • TPTB (06/04/2018, 03:47) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
      Another one gone who knows the past, the history of the BVI, who knows the psyche of peoples and what the evil ones are capable of. So many giants of this country are leaving at a rapid pace. The perfect cover up. The unsuspecting illness was just discovered and suddenly passes ? hhhhmmmm....What is amiss here? The takeover is rapidly occurring. Please read in their entirety the circle of intrigue by texe mars; pawns in the game by william guy carr; confessions of an economic hitman and new confessions of an economic hitman, both by john perkins; and hoodwinked by malachi martin.
  • Daughter of the soil (05/04/2018, 17:40) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sincere condolences to Mrs. Kather Smith and the entire Smith Family. Your loved one will surely be remembered in these Virgin Islands.
  • John (05/04/2018, 17:43) Like (15) Dislike (3) Reply
    He was a fighter RIP until we meet again
  • My condolences (05/04/2018, 17:57) Like (9) Dislike (18) Reply
    Let's hope it wasn't the hurricane stress or mayflower bill....It is very sad indeed to see all the indigenous dying out...Soon the BVI will be lost
  • Blessed (05/04/2018, 18:00) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    May Your Soul Rest in Eternal Peach... God Bless and Protect the Family ALWAYS
  • sad sad sad (05/04/2018, 18:02) Like (37) Dislike (2) Reply
    All the BVI pioneers going one by one. I can imagine seeing you and Speedy running ferry services up in heaven.
  • @ @ @ @ (05/04/2018, 18:02) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
    No more pain no more suffering Jesus has called you home
  • Windy (05/04/2018, 19:21) Like (13) Dislike (4) Reply
    Why our locals going in such high numbers?
    • Outspoken (05/04/2018, 21:46) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
      Wendy, do you want to fly in God's face. He giveth life and he taketh away. Death is no respecter of persons. Condolences to the smith family in this time of great lost.
  • cay (05/04/2018, 20:20) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    We going miss that voice
  • The TRUTH (05/04/2018, 20:33) Like (7) Dislike (11) Reply
    It's a depopulation storm to bring in the New World Order. I can just imagine the clueless dumb reactions. So lets settle for he and speedy running ferry service up in heaven. Poor things.
    • @ The TRUTH (06/04/2018, 11:13) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
      That is 3 stalwarts, all head strong, knowledgeable, industrious, and perceptive giants that are no longer with us. The 3 weather systems: August Monday 7, 2017, Sept 6 with Irma and Sept 16 with Maria. All manmade and were the perfect cover to execute the take over. An offer of guarantees and loans from UK and IMF/World Bank. Now a Recovery and Development Agency is being disguised to bring in a new government that would strip our elected Ministers of their powers. The opposition saw the trickery very easily and clearly; and one back bencher saw that there is a repeat of the Batehill moment (which was the takeover of Wickhams Cay and Anegada into a gated community for a certain class) and the Oppositiion Leader being the new Noel Lloyd sounding the warning. The takeover has begun in earnest while Brexit is also going on. Is it to get away from paying that large annual fee of $17 billion to the EU and focus on making money for the UK economy through the world's largest registry of companies - BVI FSC? The EU is made up of 28 countries excluding Switzerland; and it is the UK, France, and Germany have been carrying the load. UK saw that they could no longer fool the British voters anymore about the benefits of being in the EU and had to get out. Is the takeover about keeping out the Chinese from the airport contract? Or using these islands as a strategic post for transfer of an underground global trade in **** . Now I see the reason why the civil aviation departments in the OTs were made redundant and handed over to a UK govt statutory body - ASSI. . . . to control the airspace. Is this an opportunity to rapidly buy out more of the local cays? Note the huge sums of monies to be spent on Police and Prison. Notice the focus of raids are not on those areas where it is well known for a certain class of persons that never go to the govt hotel for possession or intent to supply. it is only one class of people going up to the big house. Why those affluent mar*** that is getting a facelift is not raided or the north ****d. Crab Lot is not the only place that should have cameras? Helicopters surveillence is needed up there and the outter cays too. Other classes of peoples are bringing contraband into this country and only one class is going up to the big house. But in time, the same behavior of being a crackhead will start to show up in their children who go to affluent schools. It is being kept under wraps that there are users in those schools too. When they display bad behavior, the children are sent off to boarding school immediately so the secret do not get out. I know I have been long winded each time I write, but we need to see the dots connected.
      • warning (08/04/2018, 13:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Leader of Opposition is no Noel Lloyd and neither is he issuing warnings. On the contrary. Pay Attention ! Revisit his actions ,his words and his behaviour just prior to the Hew Derby shakedown attempt.
        Pay Attention .
  • Sigh (05/04/2018, 21:02) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Rest in peace were loved and will be missed.
  • Andrew Cox Sr (05/04/2018, 21:51) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    I had to take a seat because a number of persons that made up the BVI Community when I was a youth is leaving us: the folks that gave us good advise and were not affraid to correct you when you were wrong although it is becoming more difficult for me I have to extend my deepest condolences to the Smith Family: the past 8 months have been very stunning
  • TPTB (06/04/2018, 03:50) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    To Mrs. Kather, Will and the rest of the family, my deepest condolences and God's strength in this difficult time, from a resident in 7th District.
  • jack (06/04/2018, 06:51) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
    Hope it was not the stress of the ndp a party he work so hard to elect in 2011 but they turn their back on Ira

    But not to worry old boy we will vote them out next elections

    Rest and sleep on God is good
  • eggy wuk up (06/04/2018, 07:09) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply

    This man was by far a Patriotic Virgin Islander of high integrity and valor. Ira, known by family and friends as a seafarers' seafarer. He was also a master swimmer, having seen him swim the length of the dock in record time after walking off the edge. He pioneered sea transportation in the BVi and thanks to him, made getting around the world easier. You will be missed. RIP in heaven.

    • oh really (06/04/2018, 19:21) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
      You are such an idiot. Cruel and insensitive to the max with that comment. Friend you say? I sincerely doubt that. If you have nothing good to say, shut that hole in your face. His true friends called him ‘The Pope’. May he Rest In Peace.
  • ??? (06/04/2018, 09:59) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Running Ferry Services in heaven...come on now....
  • theon (06/04/2018, 11:00) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    what is dead may never die
  • ausar (06/04/2018, 18:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    My condolences to the Smith family!

    This revered native son was truly a pioneer in the architectural and marinal industries of the BVI!

    His voice will truly be missed on the airways.

    Rest in peace, Mr Smith...
  • one (06/04/2018, 22:29) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    One of the best and brightest the bvi have had rest pope
  • Webonics1 (08/04/2018, 10:09) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    HOW COME When pillars of Society Dies there are so many Pundits commenting. When people like jo,Joe and THE so called Common Man on the Street Passes are we not supposed to create PHILOSOPHICAL Diatribes AS WELL as we hide behind our fictitious Names. SO Where it was that God created the Big BOYS I WANDERED WHO CREATED The little Boys both of whom exists as contemporaries in perpetual Time.
    Comment: Patience is an VIRTUE SO IS ..UNDERSTANDING.
  • 1 (08/04/2018, 20:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    His contributions is unmatched by most he made the bvi great again bye bye ira

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