After battling cancer for ten years, Paul died when he was just 49. “He always said he wouldn’t live to be 50. He just had a gut feeling,” Laurie, his wife, shares.
One thing he didn’t predict though, was that the cancer would take away his sight.
“When Paul went blind, he was devastated…his eyes were so important to him…” Laurie remembers.
“He had really sharp eyes. In the country, the hawks were flying around in abundance. Paul carried a tiny telescope so that he could look at the hawks up close… earning him the nickname ‘Hawkeyes’.” Paul would call out to Laurie, “Hawk at 12 o’clock” or “Hawk at 9 o’clock.”
“Now, whenever I see a hawk… I think of him,” adds Laurie quietly.
Paul’s other passion was astronomy… he especially loved studying the moon.
At the time, Laurie and Paul were living in the suburbs. But it was getting busier and brighter with more houses, more traffic and worse…. more lights!
So they bought two acres in the country where it was gloriously dark at night.
At that time, Paul started to take pictures of the moon. To take quality pictures – worthy of being published in astronomy magazines – his lens had to be open for up to one hour… in total darkness. Any light would ruin his picture. Every time a car drove by, he had to start over.
They kept all the lights off inside the house whenever Paul was studying the sky. “I learned to find my way in the dark,” Laurie says with a laugh.
I would very much like to see the funds help many people to see our beautiful world.
Paul’s hobby took them on some interesting adventures. Once, they went to Jamaica to see Halley’s Comet. “It’s nice and dark there with fewer stars in the southern hemisphere,” says Laurie. But, this involved bringing large equipment across the border.
At the border crossing, Laurie attempted to make a joke when they were being questioned about their odd equipment. She told the crossing guards, “You could hide a body in there!”
Paul thought it was funny… the crossing guards didn’t. It led to a three-hour delay!
Although his astronomy hobby was very exciting, Paul would often get bored in the evenings, waiting for darkness. So, he decided to learn a new hobby – building model airplanes. He taught himself everything he needed to know.
He became an instructor on how to fly model airplanes. And if his students asked questions about how to build them, he could answer them.
“Paul was very generous with his time. He [also] taught Boy Scouts and his nephews all about model airplanes.”
Although Paul’s life was cut short, he packed a lot of wonder and generosity and fun into those 49 years.
To honour the memory of Paul, Laurie has decided to leave a final gift in her Will to help people living with blindness. It’s a legacy to pay tribute to her husband and how much he valued his keen eyesight.
”I would very much like to see the funds help many people to see our beautiful world,” Laurie says.
You can join Laurie Smith and remember Hope and Healing International with your own legacy of love. It’s easy to arrange and our friendly staff would be pleased to help you. Your future gift will make a world of difference to children and families living in poverty with disabilities.
For more information about a leaving a gift in your Will to Hope and Healing International, please fill out our Request for Information form or call us at 1.800.567.2264.
Your request for information is confidential and will not obligate you to make a gift.