Born to father Lawrence Meredith Clampson Smith and mother Eleanor Houston Smith, Gertrude Gouverneur Meredith Stevenson Smith was initially inspired to pursue a musical education due to her parents’ love of classical music — both her mother and sister played the piano. After earning her high school diploma from the Germantown Friends School, she completed coursework at Hollins University in Virginia where she discovered her love of string instruments. She subsequently joined the New School of Music in Philadelphia, and obtained a diploma in viola after three years of study.
Following her graduation, Ms. Smith realized that a musical career wasn’t what she had expected it to be and began to look elsewhere for inspiration. She found the answer in philanthropy and Wolfe’s Neck Farm, her parents’ organic beef farm that had been founded in 1952. Well-known as the first organic farm in the state of Maine, the farm was given to the University of Southern Maine in 1985 and, in 1997, the Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation assumed management of the farm under Ms. Smith’s direction. Following this, Ms. Smith began the process of turning the site into what would become the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment. Today, the Wolfe’s Neck Center is a campground, demonstration farm and education center that preserves and maintains the legacy of the Wolfe’s Neck Farm and offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for individuals of all ages.
Ms. Smith’s philanthropic work goes hand-in-hand with her great love of history. She is proud of her family legacy as a descendant of the Gouverneur sisters, of whom she has several portraits, and her maternal grandfather’s work building the Chester Hill Railway Station. Furthermore, her parents had always been active in the preservation of history as well, notably donating a collection of over 200 historic maps and globes to the University of Southern Maine and purchasing a historic shipyard for the Maine Maritime Academy, which is now the location of the Maine Maritime Museum. Her own legacy includes serving as the registrar for the Maine chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, a board member with the Maine Historical Society and the Maine Maritime Museum, and a fundraiser for the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia.
Other endeavors of Ms. Smith’s include nearly two decades with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, where she held the role of registrar for 10 years, and time spent on the board of the Anchorage Place Condominium Association, where she currently acts as secretary. She has also spent over 50 years with The Garden Club of America in a variety of positions, including membership in The Gardeners Garden Club, one of the 12 founding clubs of the association. In addition, she has been active as a board member of the English-Speaking Union, an international educational charity, and with such social clubs as the Social Register Association and the Acorn Club.
Ms. Smith’s love of history was matched by her husband, the late Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, a maritime historian, to whom she was happily married for 18 years. Additionally, she is the mother of two children from a previous marriage, Gertrude Gouverneur Stevenson Miller and James Hazlet Stevenson IV, who has sadly passed, and is grandmother to twin grandchildren. Ms. Smith hopes to be remembered as a kind person with a sense of humor who always strived to do her best at any task put before her.