Charles Finley Smith
Charles Finley Smith, 89, of Orange, died Friday, Feb. 8, at Harbor Hospice in Beaumont. Graveside services will be held 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens near Bridge City. Officiating will be the Rev. Barry Bradley of First Baptist Church in Orange. Visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m., Monday at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange.
Born in Smackover, Ar., on Nov. 14, 1923, Charles was the son of Finley W. and Ethel (Grisham) Smith. He served in the US Army in World War II and was a 32nd Degree Mason at the Masonic Lodge in Augusta, Ga. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Orange and retired from DuPont Sabine River Works as a construction superintendent.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Chester Smith, Arlis Hall, and Jimmy Hall.
Charles is survived by his wife of 65 years, Juanita Smith of Orange; daughter, Sandra Kay Frasier of Highlands Ranch, CO; son, Gary Lynn Smith and wife Peggy of Orange; grandchildren, Charles “Chad” Frasier and wife Amanda, Corey Smith, Kimberly Green and husband Terry; and great-grandchildren, Ethan Frasier, Seth Frasier, Mason Smith, Finley Green, and Kyler Green.
“Gramps” often said he had experienced a fulfilled and blessed life. He was born in Smackover, Ar. during the oil boom. His first nickname was “Patch” because a black spot on top of his blond hair resembled an oil patch. His uncle had a cattle ranch in Arkansas and he spent “many a long day in the saddle herding cattle”. In his teen years he joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Core) and worked building structures in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
When Charles was drafted for World War II he was assigned to the United States Cavalry branch at Fort Riley, Ks, because of his horse riding skills. He served with several prominent Hollywood film stars and often would laugh when seeing their films and tell stories of their times together. Charles was later reassigned as a rifle instructor and then into the Armor Division. He served in the Philippines and Japan.
After his discharge he came to Orange to join his family and began his career in the petrochemical field. Charles became a pipefitter and a member of Local Union 195. “C.F.” worked for numerous companies in several states and ended his career as construction superintendent at Sabine River Works.
Charles had a lifelong love for sports, especially baseball. He played on the minor league circuit as a pitcher in his younger days. He was being coached by a New York Yankee pitching coach when drafted into the Army. During his time at Fort Riley, he was a baseball pitcher for the U.S. Army team.
Charles enjoyed fishing and for many years had a routine of a Saturday morning golf game. He shared many stories of fishing or hunting with his brothers and friends. Although he didn’t hunt, Charles and his brother Chester were the camp cooks. He always enjoyed cooking and for years spent his Saturday afternoons with the “pit fired up” and making his special BBQ sauce.
Charles was a long time member of the First Baptist Church of Orange. When he could no longer attend services he faithfully watched the Billy Graham services on Saturday night on television and local Sunday morning services. He found great comfort and direction in his religious journey. “Gramps” was a compassionate person who truly cared for the well being of others. His life centered round his family and his beloved wife of 65 years, Juanita. Dad cherished the time spent with children and grand/great grand children. “Gramps” often commented he was blessed to be able to live long enough to spend time with the next generations.
He touched the lives of many people with his friendly smile and greeting “Hello here, partner”, his humor and generosity. We were blessed to have him in our lives for so many years. We will miss but always remember his laughter, the sparkle in his eyes and his insightful calming strength and guidance. He truly experienced an adventurous, loving, successful, blessed and fulfilled life.