Robert and his wife, Ina, raised their two daughters in a large Stick-style Victorian home and four-stall carriage house in the village of St. Johnsville. Robert has operated a keyboard musical instrument restoration business out of the carriage house since 1991. He also manufactures a line of wooden boxes which he sells to galleries and product manufacturers. Finding themselves empty-nesters, the Smiths recently opened a bed & breakfast in their home.
While a music major at Broward Community College (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla) in the late 1960s, Robert took a summer off to apprentice with Frank T. Hubbard, a harpsichord maker in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1973 to 1991, he remained in Boston and made late 18th century and early 19th century fortepiano reproductions for an international clientele.
Since moving to St. Johnsville, Robert has been active in numerous historical, cultural and civic organizations writing grant and 501(c)(3) applications and filling leadership roles where needed. As Chair of the Village of St. Johnsville Planning Board, he just started a two-year project to have the entire village listed as a Historic District on the National Register and the New York State Register of Historic Places. Folk dancing, biking, gardening and cooking round out a busy lifestyle.
Robert served as a board member of the Mohawk Valley Collective from 2011-2012 (then known as Historic Fort Plain) and again during 2014. He continues to serve as a board member of the Friends of Fort Plain.