Charles Edward Smith was born April 17, 1968 in Fortuna to parents Linda Sue Anderson Smith and Edward Strom Smith. He grew up in Scotia, Carlotta and Eureka, graduating from Eureka High School in 1986.
Charles joined the Navy in 1987 and served on the USS Forrestal CV-59 during the Persian Gulf War. Serving in Europe and the Middle East opened his eyes to people suffering and being exploited. After his discharge from the Navy in 1989 he returned to Humboldt County to attend College of the Redwoods, where he studied sociology and anthropology.
Charles was a loving, gentle soul who saw the light of God in all he encountered and devoted himself to service in every aspect of his life. He served on the Humboldt County Grand Jury in 1996 and 2002, ran for the Eureka City Council in 2002, frequently wrote letters to public officials encouraging them to work for the common good, and was often in attendance at public meetings. His love of religious beliefs, learning the history of other cultures and traveling to developing countries lead him to live in South Korea, Taiwan and finally to settle for many years in Thailand where he worked as an English teacher. He returned to live in Eureka in 2014.
During his college years Charles was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for which he received life-saving medical treatment, but the side affects of that treatment would ultimately lead to complications that contributed to his death at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka on August 27, 2017 at the age of 49.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents and leaves behind many friends and adopted family at the Eureka Rescue Mission, Court House Market, Humboldt County Library, Redwood Coast Islamic Community Association, Unity Church of the Redwoods, Eureka First United Methodist Church, and around the world, especially in Thailand.
Those who visited Charles in his last weeks in the hospital wish to thank the truly caring nurses, doctors, technicians, chaplains and all the staff of St. Joseph’s Hospital. Special thanks also go to the choir from the Hydesville Mennonite Church that sang by his bedside shortly before his passing into God’s eternal embrace.
All who knew Charles Smith are invited to a memorial service on Sunday, September 24, at 1 p.m. at the Eureka First United Methodist Church on the corner of F and Del Norte St. For more information please contact the church at 707-442-3015. Charles Smith’s ashes will be interred with military honors at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery, 11800 Gas Point Rd, Igo, California on Monday, October 16, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.
The obituary above was submitted by Charles Smith’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.