I dedicate today’s post to George Smith, ground-breaking Maine outdoorsman, tireless writer of outdoor activities, travel and legislative issues, and director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine for nearly two decades.
George died this week at 72 following his ALS diagnosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, last year.
Governor Janet Mills who knew George well described him this way: “George loved Maine. And Maine loved George … An avid sportsman, a prolific writer, and a good-natured friend to all, George Smith was the very embodiment of the character of Maine: strong but kind, independent but compassionate, wise but humble.”
While I certainly didn’t know George well, our limited interactions demonstrate his generosity and kindness. I first met him a while back at the annual Boothbay Railroad Village “Books in Boothbay” event. The first mystery in my Maine Oceanographer Mara Tusconi series had just been published, and I was trying to pitch the eco-mystery to anyone who’d listen. George didn’t just stop to listen; he asked questions, requested a copy, and offered to write a review of future books if he liked what he read.
George’s blurb for “Glass Eels, Shattered Sea” is featured on the book’s back cover. His comment that my novels “really capture Maine’s islands and put you there—and on the water” meant the world to me.
Among the many tributes to George, I especially appreciate Angus King’s. The senator said: “I loved George Smith … He spent his life exploring the Maine outdoors – and if you asked him, there was no better way to live. That is why George used every tool at his disposal to share these natural treasures with millions. As a prolific and talented writer, George’s tales of adventure encouraged countless Maine people to take a walk in the woods; as a dogged advocate and natural leader, he spent decades supporting conservation efforts to make public lands more accessible for everyone. He was tough, smart, and deeply determined to protect the boundless beauty of Maine. Nature speaks a language of its own – one that George spoke fluently, with joy in his heart.