Dr. Bernard Smith, 84, dentist and car restorer

September 18, 2001|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Dr. Bernard Smith, a retired dentist who enjoyed restoring cars, died Thursday of heart failure at a nursing home in Portland, Ore., where he had moved five years ago to be with a son. He was 84.

A longtime resident of Pikesville, Dr. Smith had a practice in Baltimore and specialized in caps and crowns until he retired in the early 1990s.

Known as "Snuffy," he also dabbled in inventions, with several related to dentistry and one for a safety bottle cap, said a friend, Arnold Goldberger of Owings Mills.

"Snuffy was always a very upbeat kind of guy, always very friendly," said Mr. Goldberger who, with Dr. Smith, was a longtime member of the Chatham Club, a 55-year-old social group.

Born in Hagerstown, where his family owned a furniture store, Dr. Smith's studies at the University of Maryland were interrupted by service in the U.S. Coast Guard.

One of his hobbies was restoring old cars, said his stepson, Gary Felser of Towson. His most prized project was a 1925 Chrysler Phaeton that he drove in area parades and for which he won several awards.

Dr. Smith was married in 1977 to Mildred "Millie" Rosen Felser, who died in 1989. A previous marriage had ended in divorce.

"Snuffy was an unusual guy," said Mr. Goldberger.

Of the restored Phaeton, he said, "I remember Millie in a big bonnet and flying scarf, and he would put a violin case in the back seat."

As a joke, Dr. Smith once called a friend who was a vice president at Chrysler Corp. to complain that he hadn't received a rebate on his car, stirring the friend to action -- until he mentioned that it was a 1925 model, Mr. Goldberger said.

Dr. Smith was fond of dogs and owned several West Highland terriers over the years.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville.

In addition to his stepson, Dr. Smith is survived by his son, Warren Smith of Portland, Ore.; a daughter, Michele Smith, who lives near Orlando, Fla.; a stepdaughter, Barbara Crocker of Gulfstream, Fla.; and six grandchildren.

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