Worcester legend Richard “Dick” Smith, 84, died on May 18, 2011 in U Mass/ Memorial Hospital in Worcester after a period of poor health.

This is taken from his obituary at Hays Funeral Home

“Richard derby smith was born in greenfield, son of frank and beatrice (henshaw) smith. He graduated from greenfield high school in 1944 and attended emerson college in boston before beginning his radio career at whyn in springfield. He then worked at wmtw in portland, me. It was in portland that he first broadcast as dick “the derby” smith.

He brought the name along with his considerable talents to Worcester in 1952, as a host of the “open house party,” afternoons on worc, 1310 am. He soon moved to the morning drive hours, and the dick smith show entertained commuters and housewives throughout the 1950s and ‘60s. Another popular segment of his program was trading post, in which listeners would call in with items for sale and be matched up with potential buyers in the audience. Worcester radio listeners elected him “mayor of the air” in 1966. Dick became music and programming director of worc at the advent of rock and roll radio in new england. He was known throughout the radio and music business as a man of tremendous integrity, with a skill at discerning potential hits, such as the lion sleeps tonight by the tokens. His ability to spot hit records, along with the immediate response of worc’s listeners over the station’s always open request lines made worcester one of the premier testing grounds for new rock and roll records in the nation. He was awarded 25 gold records including one for “she loves you” by the beatles on swan records, dedicated to “dick smith, america’s first believer.” dick was also well known for his popular record hops where worcester teens would dance their weekend evenings away to current hits and oldies.”

Calling hours will be held from 5-8 p.m. Monday, May 23, 2011 in Hays Funeral Home, 56 Main St. Northborough. The funeral will be held Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Worcester, 111 Park Ave. Burial will follow in Howard Street Cemetery, Northborough. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Mass. Lions Eye Research Fund, Inc. c/o William T. Murphy PDG, Treasurer. P.O. Box 6050, New Bedford, MA 02742.

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