Wednesday, April 14, 1999

Smith recalled with laughter

'The streets of gold are cleaner . . . '

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Crystal Smith embraces her son, Cameron, 5, during a graveside service for her husband, Charles.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        MILFORD — Heaven, it was said Tuesday morning, just got a little cleaner. And at the end of each day, a lot funnier.

        Charles Smith, a 40-year-old husband, father and restaurant manager, was killed in Friday's tornado while driving to work.

        In an emotional funeral service at the First Baptist Church of Milford, the Loveland man was recalled as a dedicated family man and Christian, a tireless worker — and an enthusiastic cleaner who didn't always earn style points.

        But he didn't worry about it. That wasn't his style.

charles smith
Charles Smith
        “I have ideas of what heaven is like,” said close friend Harry Snyder, evoking laughter from the gathering of several hundred. “The streets of gold are cleaner, because he'd have angels on the ground scrubbing them.”

        Mr. Snyder said Mr. Smith's high-speed cleanings of Mr. Snyder's kitchen were legendary. He also recalled how Mr. Smith, who in a 20-year career rose from host to manager in the Bob Evans chain, always brought enthusiasm to the job.

        He left a wife, Crystal, 33, and a 5-year-old son, Cameron. The Smiths were married 11 years. They fell in love in 1985 while working together at the Bob Evans in Amelia, Clermont County. She is an assistant at the Cincinnati Eye Institute.

        “He called his wife "the first lady,'” Mr. Snyder recalled, turning directly to Crystal and adding, “because that's what he thought of you.”

        Mr. Smith, a 1977 graduate of Western Brown High School, was born in Hamersville, Brown County, and earned a degree in special education from Chatfield College in 1994.

        “He was truly one of a kind,” said Ed Coomer, another close family friend. “At the end of every Charles escapade, there was always laughter.”

        Mr. Smith also is survived by: two brothers, Joe Smith of Fedville, Ohio, and John Smith of Georgetown, Ohio; two sisters, Sharon Cahall and Rebecca Smith, both of Georgetown, Ohio; a sister-in-law, Linda Bell; and his in-laws, Calvin and Barbara Barnes of Goshen.

        He was predeceased by his parents, the Rev. George H. Smith and Betty Jane Smith.

        Mr. Smith was buried at Pierce Township Cemetery in Clermont County. Memorials can be made to: Milford Christian Academy, 1365 Woodville Pike, Milford, OH 45150.

        A fund has been established for his son. It is the Charles Cameron Smith Trust Fund; PNC Bank, Montgomery Square Office, 9909 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, OH 45242. Donations can be made at any PNC Bank.

Perry Brothers contributed to this story.


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