ORONO – Charles Byron Smith Jr., 92, husband of the late Julia A. Smith, died Oct. 4, 2011, at an Orono health care facility. He was born April 30, 1919, in Orono, the only child of Charles Byron Smith and Cora (Buchanan) Smith, who died young.
He was lovingly brought up by his stepmother, Beryl Perry Smith, who later adopted him. Charlie attended Orono public schools, graduated from Orono High School in 1936 and the University of Maine in 1941, with a Bachelor of Science in poultry husbandry. He later earned a Master in Education degree in education at Maine, followed by a sixth year and additional graduate studies at the University of Connecticut. He was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho and served four years in ROTC – and OTCS, graduating as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry. He trained in California, Louisiana, Arizona, and Abilene, Texas, where, as a first lieutenant, he became commander of G Company, 357 Infantry Regiment of the reactivated 90th Division. While in Abilene, Texas, he married Julia Alice Smith, college classmate from Parsonsfield. The 90th Division trained in England and entered France on D & 2 Day, serving under Gen. George Patton across Europe – two Mosalle River Crossings – to Czechoslovakia. Charlie was discharged in 1945 as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve with three Purple Heart awards, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with V for valor, the Division Award Croix de Guerre, plus numerous awards for engagements. He was a life member of OMOR American Legion Post 84 and served for several years in its once nationally recognized honor guard. Charlie taught vocational agriculture for eight years at Hermon High School, where he also taught On The Farm training courses – government program, to local veterans engaged in or returned to farming. He was Hermon’s first fire chief – then a volunteer group, Cub Scout Master, school building committee member for the new elementary school, and farmed 200 acres in Hermon. He taught in a three-man Vo-Ag program in New Salem, Mass., before joining a regional vocational agriculture center at Woodrow Wilson High School, Middletown, Conn. He later became director of audiovisual services for the city of Middletown (Conn.) school system until he retired to his hometown of Orono in 1978. He was an active reader for years. In Orono, Charlie carried on part time farming on his father’s and grandfather’s farm on Main Street. He was active in the Legion, the Methodist church, Orono Public Library, Orono Historical Society, and Page Farm and Home Museum. He belonged to Maine Sons of the American Revolution, Lynde Lodge – later transferred to Orono, and Anah Shrine. Years of camping and summer gatherings at Perk-O-Rock Landing on Pushaw Lake were the strongest bond in Charlie’s life and family. Later retirement years had been made more comfortable and pleasant for Charlie and his family by friends and family in the Orono community, and by the loving and caring staff at Dirigo Pines Inn, Orono.
Charlie was predeceased by his wife, Alice, in 2009. He is survived by their six children, Dianne Blackmer of Jefferson, Iowa, Peter Smith and his wife, Kathy, of East Hampton, Conn., Leigh Smith and his wife, Gretchen, of Seattle, Dana Smith and his wife, Jan Kristo, of Orono, Louise Smith and Carmen DiBuono of Orrington, and Brian Smith and his wife, Susan, of Bangor; six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and several cousins.
A service of remembrance will be held 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at Brookings-Smith, Orono Chapel, 72 Main St., Orono, with Pastor Steven Smith, of Orono United Methodist Church, officiating. Friends may call 1 p.m. until time of the service Saturday. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments immediately after the service at Orono United Methodist Church. Those who wish to remember Charlie in a special way may send gifts to Orono Public Library Foundation, P.O. Box 308, Orono, ME 04473 or Page Farm and Home Museum, care of University of Maine Foundation, 2 Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04473-5792. Condolences to the family may be expressed at