Many thanks to W.Bro Geoff Weston who presented this eulogy to W.Bro Royden at his funeral today.
A TRIBUTE TO ROYDEN MATTHEW SMITH
Royden Mathew Smith, or Roy as he was known to the majority of us, was not always an
easy man to deal with. He was Old School and he liked things done correctly, which was
normally his way. As you would expect he left me some fairly precise instructions on how
some things were to be dealt with following his passing. One item was his inscription on
the head stone of the family burial plot, it is to read:
ROYDEN MATHEW SMITH A.R.I.B.A, A.I.A.A.A & S.
CHARTERED ARCHITECT AND FREEMASON
DIED. 5th FEBRUARY 2021. AGED. 90 YEARS.
It will of course be done exactly as he requested, but, if Roy can hear me I will take issue
with him over the inscription…….yes it is accurate and it does state two facets of his life of
which he was very proud. But his 90 year lifespan contained many more equally
important items that made him the man that we all knew. He was born in 1930 during the
great depression, which for many was a very difficult time. But as things started to
improve Roy was taken under the wing of his Maiden Aunt, who was becoming a very
successful business woman, his mother worked for his Aunt as a bookkeeper and his
father ran a bicycle shop, both good parents, but he was greatly influenced by his Aunt.
HE WAS SPOILT!
She owned the Dudley Hat Company and properties in the area. Roy would go on trips to
London with her and would tell stories of playing with his beloved model trains on the
stairs of the Dorchester Hotel. so in many ways he was privileged. The picture on the
back of the Order of Service shows him playing with his Train and of course his best
friend his Teddy.
He started his school days at a small private School but this unfortunately didn’t work
out, He proved to be rather disruptive. He was then sent to the local Primary School and
eventually to Dudley Grammar School, stories abound about his early years in education,
connecting the Bunsen burners to the water taps under full pressure, making explosives
and many more, he took great pride in holding the record for the Most Detentions in a
week which stood for a some time, during this period of his life he developed his love of
Steam Trains traveling many miles, on only a platform ticket, spotting trains. He proved
to be a good Athlete achieving great success in distance running, swimming and Rugby…
he enjoyed winning! He realised at an early age that he was developing a photographic
memory he was able to remember details and specifications of Steam Trains , similarly
with bird life plants and Egyptology and found it very useful when cramming for exams.
In the 50’s he went on a trip to Belgium, the only time he ever went abroad, he met the
person who proved to be a great influence in his later life Miss Joan Tipper. He buckled
down to his studies and eventually became Articled to A.T. & B. Butler where he qualified
as an Architect and of course he Married Joan. After some years gaining knowledge and
experience with several practices, he became a partner with Harper and Sperring. with
him Specialising in Pubs, Churches and later Hospitals.
Joan supported him in everything he did, joining Round Table, Rotary and of course
Freemasonry when he joined Priory Lodge in 1970.
I first met Roy in 1979 when he came back into Round Table as President an Office held
by those who were Past Members. I was Vice Chairman and charged with organising a
selection of events to which Roy gave his full support and at this time he was pleased to
support me in Joining Freemasonry albeit in Warwickshire rather than Worcestershire, but
eventually of course when circumstances allowed he proposed me into Old Dudleian
There were so many interests in Roy’s life Gardening, visiting their Static Caravan in
Wales, that they owned for a few years, Fishing, Stamp Collecting and wildlife. In later life
his main interest was of course Freemasonry, his ability to read and retain long passages
of the written word really came into its own and his knowledge and ability with Masonic
ritual was well known and admired in all of the Masonic Orders of which he was a
member, he was always ready to step in and assist when needed and could switch from
one Order to another at very short notice. Roy’s dedication and contribution to all the
Orders of which he was a member was recognised by their Rulers, he attained high Rank
in all of them, he would be pleased to know that there are representatives here from all of
them this morning.
The support he had from Joan during in there 58 years of marriage was truly amazing she
had her own interests but always found time to give support when needed.
Friends and family members will remember parties and barbecues at there home and I
must make mention of Roy’s old brown jumper. This was in a very distressed state but try
as she might Joan could not persuade him to part with it, he wore it when he worked from
home or when he was tucked away in his study. When they had guests Roy more often
that not would suddenly appear in his old Jumper much to Joans embarrassment and
annoyance. We have recently had a ceremonial destruction of the said item!
When Joan passed away in 2013 many were concerned how Roy would cope, he
obviously missed her a great deal but he set to and cooked for himself and maintained
many of his interests, but without the help and support from Anita, Sandra, neighbours,
my family, Noel and Judith from Wellington Road and many others his life style would
have been very different, special thanks should go to Robert and Kate, Joan’s Nephew
and niece for their support. He suffered with macular degeneration in both eyes, his vision
was seriously impaired and without regular injections in each eye he would have lost his
sight completely, he obviously couldn’t drive as the conditioned worsened but he did use
buses until his mobility started to deteriorate. His lack of vision didn’t stop him ,albeit with
the aid of a large magnifying glass, from using his computer, studying his Ritual or
managing his affairs.
A very determined man.
The recent pandemic, like for many others, had a big effect on Roy’s life, although he
would not agree, but the lack of social contact certainly affected him. During the last few
months of last year his general health began to deteriorate and after several falls and
other complications he was admitted to hospital. I could not visit him and communication
was very difficult, however after being stepped down to a care home he passed away
And so, Royden Matthew Smith. Architect and Freemason, and so much more.
Rest In Peace.