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50 Years ago

By Jim Ignasher

May 1969

David P. Petit, Stephen Paine, and Alan P. Seward, all completed basic training for the U.S. Air Force.

Bernard J. Ferro III, of Esmond, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force.

Peter R. Fisher of Greenville was scheduled to receive his commission to 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserves upon completion of ROTC.

Former Commander of the Balfour-Cole American Legion Post, Ralph Rathier, was elected Commander of the First District of Rhode Island. The First District includes Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, Cumberland, North Providence, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Burrillville, and Woonsocket.

In honor of Memorial Day, a non-denominational candle light vigil honoring deceased Smithfield veterans was held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Greenville.

The Smithfield Conservation Commission held its first annual awards dinner at the Club 44 restaurant.

A conservation achievement award was given to the Apple Blossom Garden Club.

Mrs. Wendy Weston was given an appreciation award for her work as secretary to the Conservation Commission.

Mrs. Dorothy Burgess was recognized for her conservation efforts to the town.

Philip Azzolina, a Greenville jeweler, was given a civic beautification award for landscaping around his business.

Mother’s Day fell on Apple Blossom Sunday, while the apple blossoms of local orchards were at their peak.

On that day, the annual Apple Blossom Queen Pageant was held at the Smithfield High School with teenaged girls from grange halls around the state competing. Some local teens who took part in the competition were Susan Ashworth, of Spragueville, Pauline LeBlanc, from Esmond, Norma and Linda Hill, Sandra Colburn, Patricia Bolwell, and Joyce Steere, all from Glocester.

Sandra Colburn was crowned Queen.

The Smithfield Lions Club held a father-daughter dance at Louie’s Tavern. The guest speaker was Karen Jessop, who recently returned from serving aboard the hospital ship S. S. Hope.

The Smithfield High School Junior Prom was held in the high school cafeteria and courtyard.

Smithfield High School Senior Virginia Vale was the winner of the Miss Rhode Island Lion Pageant. She would go on to compete in the Miss Rhode Island Universe Contest.

The Smithfield Police Department held its annual ball at the St. Michael’s Church Hall.

A local car dealer was advertising a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda for $1,950, a 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix for $1,250, and a 1966 Buick Electra for $1,795.

Speaking of cars, after two years of proposals and counter proposals, finalized plans were submitted for the redesign of the intersection of Austin Avenue and Rt. 44. Architectural drawings included three traffic islands with curbside parking and traffic passing directly in front of businesses. The intersection has been redesigned at least twice since 1969.

The former Redwood restaurant which stood on the corner of Greenville Ave. and Rt. 44 was burned by local firemen for training. In recent years the building had fallen into disrepair and according to one local newspaper some were happy to see it go. Today a Newport Creamery occupies the location.

On May 22, NASA’s Apollo 10 “lunar lander” designated as “Snoopy” orbited the Moon at a mere ten miles above the surface. No humans had ever been this close to the Moon before.

The Smithfield Jaycees elected new officers. Larry Catlow was elected President; Robert Smith, Internal Vice President; Ronald Agnes, External Vice President; Gene Viana, Treasurer; Donald Carlton, Secretary.

The Board of Directors included Donald Brush, John Hines, William Ford, Ray Reilly, and Paul Zuchowski.

The Cranford Club of Greenville held a meeting at St. Thomas Episcopal Church and installed new officers. Mrs. John Schlly, President; Mrs. Leo Glasheen, Jr., 1st Vice President; Mrs. Bernard Schiffman; 2nd Vice President; Mrs. Carl C. Emma, Secretary,; Mrs. Audrey Fenwick, Treasurer.

The world’s newest ocean liner, the Queen Elizabeth II, made its maiden voyage from England to New York navigating with a Global Positioning System that was integrated with four navy satellites. This was the first private use of GPS ever utilized by a ship.