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100 North Main Street
Massena, NY 13662
Phone: (315) 769-3579
Fax: (315) 769-3570
Charles Smith

Charles L. Smith

Monday, March 1st, 1926 - Wednesday, January 16th, 2019
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POTSDAM - Charles Leonard Smith passed on peacefully surrounded by love and family at Masconomet Healthcare Center in Topsfield, MA on January 16, 2019. He was 92. Charlie, lovingly known as Bud by family and closest friends, had a profound impact on many and will be deeply missed.

Born March 1, 1926, in Syracuse, NY, son of Charles Thomas and Elsie Evelyn Crabtree Smith, he graduated from Plattsburgh High School in 1943, one of four student commencement speakers. He entered the Naval Reserve Officers Training Program at Rensseler Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY in the fall of 1943. He served as a cadet Lt J.G. in charge of a drum and bugle corps in that program and was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve in February 1946. He completed his period of active duty with six months service on the U.S.S. Diachenko, a destroyer escort converted to a mine sweeper during WWII. He returned to R.P.I. for one semester and completed his B.S. degree in general engineering in February 1947. Smith was later promoted to Lt. J.G. before resigning from the Naval Reserve under honorable conditions on October 3, 1954.

He earned a M.S. degree in science and mathematics education at Syracuse University, a M.A. degree in mathematics at the University of Illinois Urbana, and an EdD degree in mathematics education at Columbia University Teachers College.

He taught high school mathematics and science at Holland Patent Central School in NY where he coached the rifle team, junior high mathematics at Bethlehem Central School in Delmar, NY where he coached ninth grade football, and he taught junior high mathematics and sixth grade at Fayetteville-Manlius Central School in Manlius, NY.

In the fall of 1959 he joined the Mathematics faculty at the State University of New York at Potsdam. He served as Chairman of the Department for three years and developed (and for several years taught) a two-semester course in honors calculus which included homemade ice cream and cookies at his home for all the students who successfully completed both. In addition to several mathematics courses, he also taught courses in the education department and supervised student teachers of mathematics at various times. He was honored with the Chancellors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching for the academic year 1973-74. He retired from the Mathematics Department at the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1995 after 36 years of service. He felt very fortunate to have such a meaningful career and inspired countless students to believe in themselves, excel in mathematics, and to make a difference in the lives of others.

A member of Racket River Lodge #213 of Free and Accepted Masons in Potsdam, he served as Master of the Lodge several times. This lodge closed its doors and merged with Amber Lodge #395 in Parishville, NY in 2007. From 1996 to 1998 Smith served as District Deputy Grand Master of the Second St. Lawrence District. He held the office of Assistant Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York from 1998 to 2000. In 2007 Brother Smith received the Wendell K. Walker Builder of Men Award.

Also a member of the Scottish Rite, he served as Thrice Potent Master, as Sovereign Prince, and as Most Wise Master in that organization. In 2007 he received the Scottish Rite Meritorious Service Award.

While living in Potsdam, he became a member of the 50 Year Club of the Potsdam United Methodist Church, the chancel choir and the men’s gospel chorus.

An avid fisherman, he particularly enjoyed fishing for lake trout in Seneca Lake especially with his dear friend Richard (Dick) DelGuidice. In 2005 he successfully completed his goal of catching lake trout in ten lakes in New York State with his favorite Fireplug lure. He loved dogs, especially his Labradors, Ambie, Sasha and Misha. Charlie also enjoyed singing, music, cooking, bowling, Soduko puzzles, and in his younger days, figure skating and hiking, including a memorable trip from the North Rim to the South Rim and back in the Grand Canyon. He was an avid reader, from John Steinbeck to Stephen King and finished “Moby Dick” for the second time last year.

In July of 2009, he moved to Ipswich, MA to be close to his daughter Sarah and family. He sang in the United Methodist Church of Ipswich choir, served as a liturgist, and was active in a Bible study group. Charlie loved his time with family, exploring Ipswich, Wii bowling, relaxing by the Ipswich River and picnic lunches at Pavillion Beach.

Charlie lived with faith, purpose, kindness and gratitude.

He was a devoted loving father to Sarah Cullen and her husband Daniel of Ipswich, MA and Frederick B. Smith of Oakland, CA. Cherished grandfather (Grampa/GC) to Patrick, Matthew and Meaghan. Friend to many who will miss him dearly. He was also an uncle to many nieces and nephews.

Charlie was predeceased by his sister, Evelyn Bergmann and his brother, David Smith.

His former wife, Barbara Anne Holtz Smith (Lititz, PA) is the mother of Sarah and Fred.

Friends and relatives will gather in honor and remembrance of Charlie’s life during visiting hours at the Donaldson-Seymour Funeral Home, 4 Cedar Street, Potsdam, NY on Friday, January 25 from 5-7pm, with the members of the Masonic Lodge conducting a memorial ritual at 6:45PM. Funeral Services will be held at the Potsdam United Methodist Church, 26 Main Street, Potsdam, NY on Saturday, January 26 at 11am. Internment with military honors will be planned for the Summer. A Reception and Celebration of Charlie’s Life will be held at Cable Gardens, 126 County Road, Ipswich, MA in the Community Room on Monday, January 28 from 5-8pm.

Gifts in Charlie’s memory may be made to the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC), 20 Burlington Mall Rd, Suite 261, Burlington, MA 01803 (
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, January 25th, 2019 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Friday, January 25th, 2019 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Donaldson ~ Seymour Funeral Home
    4 Cedar Street
    POTSDAM, NY 13676
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, January 26th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Saturday, January 26th, 2019 11:00am
    Potsdam First United Methodist Church
    26 Main Street
    POTSDAM, NY 13662
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Pastor Brooke Newell
  • Interment

    Bayside Cemetery
    Outer Clarkson Ave
    POTSDAM, NY 13676
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Melissa Cotter, The family of James Magee, and others have sent flowers to the family of Charles L. Smith.
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Craig Woodard

Posted at 07:10am
To a great friend and brother Mason, our service together was a great time in my life. You will be missed.
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A donation was made in memory of Charles Smith

Ric Ferraro

Posted at 08:42am
I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Smith and my sympathies go out to his family. He was a professor when I was in college at SUNY-Potsdam (1978-1983) and had a profound impact on my life. Initially a math major at SUNY-Potsdam, an F in Set Theory and Logic dimmed those dreams. But Dr. Smith keep advising me, despite not being a Math major. And if he was outside his house on Bay St., and I happened to walk by, he always took time to chat me up, ask how things were going, etc. After college we exchanged letters (and then emails) annually about how things were going, how my career was going, how he was doing, etc. He always wanted to know what I was up to. His annual X-Mas letters were always highly anticipated. I started a scholarship in his name after college and it continues to this day (and will as long as is possible). He was one of 4-5 professors at SUNY-Potsdam that had a profound and ever-lasting impact on my life to this day. I would not be were I am today without his assistance, guidance, and friendship. It was unmatched. I am forever indebted to Dr. Smith and always will be.

Ric Ferraro
Grand Forks, ND

Kevin Kivlin

Posted at 09:14pm
My condolences to the family of Charles Smith , who was a truly remarkable teacher . I had the pleasure of attending SUNY Potsdam during the 1972-1974 years , when they had an outstanding Mathematics faculty . Dr Smith was perhaps the shining light of the department . I only had him for one course ( Set Theory & Logic ) but I was very impressed by his teaching ability , patience and willingness to treat every student as if they were the only student in the class . I can only hope that I was half as effective in my 36 years of HS mathematics teaching . Dr Smith will be long appreciated and remembered .
Kevin Kivlin ( Class of 1974 )

Melissa Cotter

Posted at 08:08am
To a man a head above the crowd. Love, Missy, Jenn, Mary, Stephen and Margo
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Melissa Cotter purchased flowers for the family of Charles Smith.


The family of James Magee

Posted at 10:06am
Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.
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The family of James Magee purchased flowers for the family of Charles Smith.


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