Charles Harrison Smith, Jr. died peacefully at his home in Cary surrounded by his family on the morning of February 3, 2015 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
Born October 9, 1938, Charles was the son of the late Charles Harrison Smith, Sr. and Lucille Carroll Smith of Scotland Neck, North Carolina. Charles is survived by his beloved wife, Sandra Pearson Smith, his daughter, Sandra Smith Story, devoted son-in-law, George Edward Story, and George Edward Story, Jr. and William Andrew Story, his cherished grandsons. He was also the father of the late Charles Harrison Smith, III.
Charles was a friend and humble servant of God, who touched many hearts across the globe. His legacy of kindness included academic scholarships, sharing hope and healing with the bereaved after the tragic loss of his own son, advancing the Gospel in China and mending the broken hearts of abused and abandoned children in Honduras.
An active member of Christ Episcopal Church in Raleigh and summer communicant of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church at Thomas Landing, NC, Charles was a life-long Episcopalian. He also remained devoted to Old Trinity Episcopal Church in Scotland Neck, NC, which was built by his great grandfather and family in 1855. Charles will be buried on the grounds of Old Trinity in the Smith Family plot.
Voted most likely to succeed in his 1957 Scotland Neck High School graduating class, Charles went on to NC State to undertake an individualized curriculum of courses related to innovative farming techniques which he later utilized as he followed his father’s legacy of farming the land owned for generations by the Smith family. This led to a highly successful career as a farmer including recognition as “Outstanding Young Farmer” at the age of 29, as he expanded his farm from 500 to 5,200 tended acres. Smith took an active role in advancing the interests of farmers through his service in various farming organizations, including president of the National Farming Organization of Halifax County.
Consistent with his adventurous and progressive spirit, Charles earned his pilot’s license which he used to benefit his farming operation. After the sale of the pre-Civil War Smith Family Farm, the family relocated to Cary, NC. He continued his deep love of the land while remaining engaged in current farm operations.
Charles shared his passion for travel with his wife, Sandra. Their many exotic adventures included destinations such as the Amazon, Antarctica, the former Soviet Union, and a 14,000 mile train trip on the Trans Siberian Railway across Russia. His lifetime travel spanned every continent and included visiting over 45 countries. Charles was always planning his next big adventure! One of his proudest accomplishments was his hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out in a single day at age 57.
Although a detail person, Charles never lost sight of the importance of the big picture and the value of personal relationships. Always the Southern gentleman, Charles loved sharing time and hospitality with friends and family. He especially enjoyed bridge and other card and board games. Even though he was not a swimmer, he patiently taught many summer guests to water ski while they visited his home on Topsail Island. One of the things he loved sharing with family and friends was his twice yearly attendance since 1975 of Handel’s “Messiah,” performed in Duke Chapel.
His enduring love for trains began as a child as he built a complete train layout covering the entire attic of his childhood home. Those who know Charles are well aware of his life-long passion for trains and (Red) International Harvester Tractors continued throughout his childhood and adult life. Charles will be greatly missed by his many friends and family.
Services will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, 120 Edenton St., Raleigh, NC on Friday, February 6, at 2:00 PM followed by a reception. Graveside services will be held at the Trinity Episcopal Cemetery in Scotland Neck, NC on Saturday, February 7, at 12:00 PM. The family will greet friends after the service at the cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the following: Old Trinity Restoration Fund, Trinity Episcopal Church, PO Box 372, Scotland Neck, NC 27874; Hope For His Children International, 4815 – 200 Executive Park Court – Suite 201, Jacksonville, FL 32216; Transitions Life Care, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607.
The family expresses its deep gratitude to the staff of Rex Hospital and Transitions Life Care for the excellent care they provided Charles in his final days.
Arrangements are being handled by Letchworth Funeral Home in Scotland Neck.