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.
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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 (www.mdsc.org)