Dad was born on August 4, 1937, to James Clark Smith and Mildred Hildegard Phelps (nee Clarke) in Redlands, Calif.

He moved to Fortuna with his family when he was in elementary school so that his father could start a sawmill business in Rohnerville. He graduated From Fortuna Union High School in 1956 and attended college at San Jose State and Humboldt State.

He married Mom, Joan K. DeGroat, on June 23, 1961, and they soon after had two children, Tracy and Jeffrey, and then adopted our childhood neighbor and friend, Steven, a few years later after he lost his parents.

In 1961, Roger founded Resco Construction Company through which he built many landmark structures in the community. He was passionate about his work and eagerly built a wide variety of commercial buildings. Few have worked harder or with more energy and enthusiasm, leaving a legacy of monuments in his footsteps. As a contractor, he never really cared much about money, he just loved to build and create places and spaces to improve peoples’ lives.

Dad was a gifted sketch artist and painter. Lots of creative thoughts were turned into back-of-the napkin sketches drawn in coffee shops at 6 a.m. that were then given to carpenters to guide their day. He also loved cars. He was fond of Jaguar cars in particular, but also recounted stories of his youthful misadventures in his 1957 Corvette.

Dad was a man of the community, volunteering his time for many worthwhile endeavors. He fully enjoyed being a member of Rotary and cherished the friendships that he built with his fellow Rotarians. Under his leadership while President of the Southwest Rotary Club of Eureka, the club’s accomplishments of which he was especially proud included the construction of the Evergreen Lodge at St. Joseph Hospital as a place for rural residents to stay while receiving medical treatments, and the expansion of Rotary through the formation of the Old Town Eureka Rotary Club. He was an Elk of the Year recipient as a member of Elks Lodge 652. He served as the Public Member representative of the Hearing Board of the Northcoast Unified Air Quality Management District; Founding member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Vector Health Programs, Inc; Past President of the Board of Directors of the Humboldt Builders Exchange; Chairman of the Eureka District of the Associated General Contractors of America; State Board of Directors member of the Associated General Contractors of California; Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board; member of the Eureka Housing Advisory Board; member of the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity; and served as President of the Humboldt County Board of Appeals for twelve years.

Dad slowly drifted away from us over the past eight years due to Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and at age 84, died May 17, 2022, at his home in Eureka.

He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Joan Karen Smith, an angel in disguise who cared for him at home until his passing.

He is survived by his son, Jeffrey Smith and wife Casey, his granddaughters Rachel Stewart and husband Scott, Sarah Brown and husband Kyle, and three great-grandchildren, Olivia and Everett Stewart, and Carter Brown.

Roger was also survived by his daughter, Tracy Homen, grandchildren Scott Homen and his wife Kacie, Molly Homen, Blake Homen, and their father Amarildo Homen. He was also happy to be “Grandpa” to his grandchildren’s friends which he welcomed wholeheartedly into his life.

Roger left behind three siblings, James Smith and wife Judy, Stanley Smith and wife Claire, and his only sister, Janet Arrington. Roger is also survived by his nieces and nephews who he loved truly as his own, Dianne Smith Cashin, Kathryn Arrington Marget, Carole Arrington, Brian Arrington, Laura Parmer, Charlene Smith, Phillip Smith, and their extended families. He is also survived by many loving relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his great-nephew Michael Smith, and his son, Steven C. Smith.

Roger cared deeply for his family and always put them first. He loved being a father and teacher to his children, nieces and nephews, and later his role as a grandfather. He never missed a sporting event, and supported his children in all their endeavors. Roger is finally at peace and having a well-deserved rest.

The family extends special thanks to the hospice team members who were so helpful in the final weeks of his life — Sarah, Sarah, Dylan, Jamie, DeAnn and Harry.

Funeral services will be held graveside at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 at Ocean View Cemetery with Harry Wells officiating.


The obituary above was submitted by Roger Smith’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email