Smith / Granitto

Claire Vivian Smith


Claire (Lari) Vivian Smith, 90, of Lexington, Massachusetts, passed away on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Lari was born in Brooklyn, New York to Stanley and Gertrude Wilson (Rabinowe) on November 1st, 1926. She grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts and graduated from high school at 16. Her adventurous spirit took her to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where, while studying economics, she reveled in the freedom of college life and became involved in musical theater. She graduated in 1948 with a degree in economics, and then moved back to Boston where she worked as a medical technician. She met Donald Oscar Smith, a physics student at MIT and a violinist, in 1950 and they married the following year. Around that time, Lari followed what would become a lifelong love for singing and received a masterís degree in vocal performance from the Longy School of Music in Cambridge. She never stopped learning, and after studying linguistics at Boston University she received a masterís degree in teaching English as a Second Language in 1981. She and Don had a Peacock Farm-style house built in Lexington in 1957 and lived there for the rest of their lives. She worked as a singer, an ESL textbook editor for Addison-Wesley, and an ESL educator. She was also involved in fair housing initiatives in Lexington during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

In addition to her work as a singer, editor, and teacher, Lari was a musician, cook, traveler, linguist, and poet. After her early career as a professional singer and many years of hosting music parties, Lari began studying the viola da gamba, playing and performing weekly with friends until the months before her death. She and Don were devoted patrons and supporters of the Boston classical and early music scene. They traveled extensively, spending weeks at a time visiting cities and cathedrals. Lari made a point of learning the languages of their destinations, at various times studying French, Russian, Italian, German, Greek, Turkish, and Chinese. For more than fifty years they took their family to the coast of Maine in the summers, sharing and passing on their love for sailing. Lari wrote poetry about her travels, her family, her Lexington home, and the family summer house on Chebeague Island in Maine, and was involved in several local poetry groups. In recent years she enjoyed volunteering at the Concord Public Library and reading James Joyceís Finnegans Wake with her study group the Thirsty Scholars.

Lari was preceded in death by her husband Don. Her loving family include her children Wendell Smith (Luisa Granitto) of Bedford, Rebecca Chambers of Lexington, and Evan Smith (Ann DeBord Smith) of Lexington; and her four grandchildren Nathaniel Smith (Erika Roderick) of Cambridge, Gemma Smith Vondras (Peter Vondras) of Somerville, and Emerson and Alanson Smith of Lexington.

A memorial gathering will be held between 2 pm and 5 pm on Sunday afternoon, February 26th, with remembrances at 3:30, at First Parish in Bedford, 75 Great Rd, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730. RSVP is appreciated but not necessary (



Albion's House
Night Visitor
The Lobsterman
Ferry Ride
The Fourth of July
click here for more poems ...


Viola da Gamba Society Story Chord
(1) Mom and twins
(2) Mom and twins
(3) Mom and twins
(4) Mom and twins

Oral Stories

First boyfriend, working at hospital (MT), music school, early life with Don
House in Lexington, having Wendell, building deck
How Grandma and Grandpa met
Thanksgiving pies
Camping, canoing
Dog stories
Evan (age 4) gets knocked down by a dog
Dog with a pebble (Brookline)
Rudy and dogs, grandma's family's first dog
Wendell and dogs, Smith family first dog (Skipper)