Charles O. "C.O." "Smitty" Smith Jr., 92, of Beckley, Raleigh County, W.Va., passed away at home on 17 Nov 2013, at the age of 92.
He was born on 09 Jan 1921 at Abraham, Raleigh County, a son of Charles Ota Smith and Flora Arthur Smith.
After graduating from high school, C.O. attended Concord College, Athens, W.Va., until 1940, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served until November 1946. Mr. Smith saw duty in Norfolk, Va., Puerto Rico and Recife, Brazil, as an Aviation Ordinanceman (Chief Petty Officer) and flight crew member on Martin PBM Mariner patrol bombers, in Navy Squadron VPB 203. He received a personal commendation for participating in a mission that tracked a German submarine off the coast of Brazil until it was sunk and the surviving crew members captured.
Returning to the U.S. after the dis-establishment of this air squadron, he married Norma L. Richmond on 10 Nov 1945, at Oak Harbor, Wash.
After returning to West Virginia in 1946, he sold automobiles for Duncan Catron Motors and Burleson Motors before being elected to two six-year terms as clerk of court of Raleigh County. While clerk of court, he served a one-year term as president of the West Virginia Association of County and Circuit Clerks and hosted the annual convention in Beckley. He served nine years as business administrator of Beckley's Pinecrest Hospital followed by a position as a real estate sales associate with Home Seekers Reality. During this time he was also serving with Naval Air Reserve with Naval Patrol Squadron VP 68 at Naval Air Facility, Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., and Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. During the Vietnam and Cold War eras, he accumulated 6,000 hours in anti-submarine patrol aircraft from naval air stations and facilities in Burmuda, Spain, Cuba, Holland, Portugal, Sicily, Italy, England, the Azores, the Cape Verde Islands and both the east and west coasts of the United States. He continued serving his country until his retirement in 1983.
C.O. was a long standing and active member of First United Methodist Church in Beckley until 2007 when he became a member of the United Methodist Temple. He served on the board of Beckley Child Care Center (presently Burlington Youth Center). He was one of the incorporators of the local Citizens Scholarship Foundation and was elected president of that organization for two terms.
Raised a Master Mason in Whidbey Island Lodge No. 15, State of Washington, July 1946, he later demitted to Beckley Lodge No. 95. At the 1973 Scottish rite spring reunion, he completed the degree work in all four lodges. He was a member of Benni Kedem Temple, Royal Order of Jesters, Court No. 111, Order of the Eastern Star, Beckley Chapter No. 38 R.A.M., and the Scottish Research Society. He was invested with the rank and decoration of Knight Commander Court of honor in 1993 and 33rd Degree 03 Oct 2001.
Active in organizing numerous fund raisers and other Shrine functions, Smith sponsored approximately 50 children to Shriners Hospitals and Shriners Burn Centers.
Mr. Smith was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Juanita Smith Fitzgerald, June Smith Westfall, Louella Smith Goodson and Eileen Smith Mann; and brothers Sebird, Dempsey and Robert Noel Smith.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Norma; sister Marie Smith Richmond of Villages of Greystone, Daniels, W.Va.; children Kenneth E. Smith and wife Norma of Marie, W.Va., Kathryn L. Anderson and husband Mark of Beaver, W.Va., and Charles M. Smith of North Wales, Pa.; grandson Kenneth Earl Smith and wife Teresa of Elizabethton, Tenn.; granddaughters Heather Renee Smith of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and Tatiana Smith of North Wales, Pa.; and great-granddaughter Madison Olivia Smith of Elizabethton, Tenn.
Services were held on 21 Nov 2013 at United Methodist Temple Beckley, with the Reverends Randy Adkins and Dan Johnson officiating. Masonic graveside rites were conducted by the Masonic Lodge No. 95 AF & AM with burial at Sunset Memorial Park, Raleigh County.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made in Mr. Smith's memory to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 3229 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229-3095 or Hospice of Southern WV, PO Box 1472, Beckley, WV 25802-1472.
Private online condolences, floral tributes, and other expressions of sympathy may be directed to the family via a guestbook at www.roseandquesenberry.net
Arrangements were by Rose and Quesenberry Funeral Chapel, 1901 S Kanawha St, Beckley.
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