Robert W. "Snuffy" Smith, 64, of West Chester, co-owner of Brandywine Water Systems and a motorcycle enthusiast, died Thursday of bone cancer at home.
In 1980, Mr. Smith and his wife, Barbara McIlvaine Smith, established Brandywine Water Systems, a water purifying company in West Chester.
Last November she won a narrow race to become Democratic state representative for the 156th District in Chester County. "He was a great supporter and my biggest fan," she said. A month after the election, he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent four rounds of chemotherapy. "He never complained," she said.
Mr. Smith acquired his comic-strip-character nickname and his first motorcycle as a teenager. Vintage British bikes became his passion. He was a master at repairing their finicky electrical systems, his wife said. In 1986 he was the founder of the Turkey Pro National Motorcycle Rally in Chester County. Last Thanksgiving he was there on crutches to give the annual trophy to the slowest rider.
He taught his son, Matthew, and daughter, Kate Young, to ride, and took a motorcycle safety course with them, his wife said. Until he became ill he rode most weekends and introduced his son-in-law, John Young, to the breakfast ride. "You climb on the bike at 7 a.m, and try to ride at least 50 miles to an out-of the way diner to meet other riders and tell lies," Young said.
Mr. Smith kept a 1971 Triumph bike in England to use on his frequent motorcycle odysseys abroad. Recently two articles he wrote about his adventures on a Triumph Cub motorcycle in the 1960s were published in Vintage Motorcycles magazine. He competed in races in Daytona Beach, Fla., and on the Isle of Man.
Mr. Smith attended the Haverford School and graduated from the Pennington School in New Jersey. After earning a bachelor's degree in business from Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C., in 1969, he worked for Aluminum Co. of America in North Carolina and later co-owned a custom fiberglass company, SW Associates, in Malvern.
Mr. Smith was a former assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 8 in Hopewell. He enjoyed boating in Avalon, N.J., and adored his 3-year-old granddaughter, his wife said.
In addition to his wife of 35 years, son, daughter, and granddaughter, Mr. Smith is survived by a sister. A daughter, Elizabeth, died in 1985.
A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Downingtown Friends Meeting, 800 E. Lincoln Highway, Downingtown.
Memorial donations may be sent to Neighborhood Hospice, 795 E. Marshall St., West Chester, Pa. 19380.