Capt. Granville “Pete” Smith, a distinguished Portland Harbor pilot who safely navigated inbound and outbound vessels for over four decades, died Sept. 19. He was 87.

Mr. Smith, known by everyone as “Captain Pete,” was remembered last week as a legendary sea captain who was highly respected in the maritime community. On shore, he was a dedicated family man who had a deep passion for the outdoors and taught his children how to fish, hunt and live off the land.

Mr. Smith was a 1947 graduate of Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. He began his career in the maritime industry as a deck officer aboard a tanker for Mobil Oil Corp. He quickly rose through the ranks to second mate, then chief mate. He earned his master’s license by the time he was 22. He worked for Mobil Oil until 1958, when he applied to the Portland Pilots.

As a pilot, Mr. Smith guided vessels in and out of Portland Harbor for more than 43 years. In his early years, he used a wooden schooner and dory to meet incoming vessels outside Portland Harbor. Once there, he climbed on the ships to navigate them into the harbor. In 1969, Mr. Smith designed Portland’s first steel pilot vessel.

“You felt safe when Capt. Smith was on board,” said his son Gary Smith, a retired mooring master from South Portland. “He had a lot of responsibility climbing ships. He had the confidence. You never saw him sweat. If the engine died, he had complete control. He was always thinking ahead.”

Mr. Smith served as president and treasurer of the Portland Pilots for most his career. He also served as president, treasurer and secretary of the Portland Marine Society for more than three decades. Smith’s son and grandson are also members of the society.

“There has never been three living generations at the marine society that we could find,” the younger Smith said. “My father was very proud of that.”

When Mr. Smith was home from sea, he was truly home. He and his wife, Mary Smith, were married for 53 years and raised four children. The couple built a house in Cumberland Foreside in 1958. The family also enjoyed spending time on its 300-acre Seboeis Farm in Township 6 Range 7 for more than 50 years.

Mr. Smith’s daughter Shelly Shuka of Hamilton, Massachusetts, shared many stories Thursday about their early years. She said her parents taught them to fish, hunt and pick potatoes, and that her father taught her children to gut moose and dress deer, as well.

“It wouldn’t be unusual to drive past our house in Cumberland and see a deer hanging in the garage,” his daughter said. “We did a lot of things on the edge. They were so into nature. We spent so much time berry picking, making preserves and making wreaths together. That’s what they taught us. It’s what we grew to love.”

Mr. Smith was a Registered Maine Guide. He also had a thing for BMW motorcycles, canoes and snowmobiles. Most of all, he had a “true love of family,” Shuka said.

“You knew how much he loved us by his actions,” his daughter said. “They were the type of parents who didn’t put demands on us. They taught us to be kind to one another and to love one another. They were just wonderful parents.”

Mr. Smith was a longtime supporter of Maine Maritime Academy. In 1974, he was recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus, and in 1997 he was inducted into the academy’s Wall of Honor. He established a scholarship fund at the academy and contributed generously throughout the years. In 2005, MMA named the Captain Granville I. Smith Bridge Simulator Center in his honor. MMA President William Brennan said Thursday that Mr. Smith was a close friend and mentor to many graduates.

“His influence was felt quite extensively by the maritime community, the port of Portland and beyond,” said Brennan.