On Saturday, June 26, 2021, Lt. Commander David C. Smith, USN, Retired, departed this life for the next great adventure. He arrived into Heaven in the arms of his Savior. David is preceded in death by his parents, Grover and Lily Mae Smith; and two sisters, Sylvia Lang and Agnes Ruggles.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Judy Messer Smith; son, Jeff (Connie) Smith of Canton; and two daughters, Laura Smith Shipman and Kazandra (Brandon) Flesch of Clyde. Also left to treasure his memory are four grandchildren, Abigail, Lleyton, and Isaac Shipman and Casey Burris; five great-grandchildren, Lane, Alice, and Adam Flesch, Kimberly Shuler and Colby Jackson; brother, Charles (Nancy) Smith of Raleigh; and three sisters, Linda (Lynn) McCaskill of Ellerbe, Melia (Gerald) Cox of Rocky Mount, and Emma (Dave) Delafield of Greensboro.
David was a well read and well-rounded man. He grew up in Ellerbe on a tobacco farm. After graduating Ellerbe High School, he made his way to the mountains that his heart loved. There he met his bride and was married in 1960. David then joined the U.S. Navy and answered the call to service for his Country while satisfying the longing in his soul for the skies and ocean. He had a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Meteorology and a PhD in Adult Education.
David was a decorated Naval officer serving numerous tours in Vietnam. He was a Naval Aviator flying A-3s, A-6s, and F-14s, making his home in the skies. David loved to retell the good times from his deployments and duty stations as well as recapping launches and recoveries off the carriers. David and Judy were stationed all around the country from Pensacola, Florida, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Corpus Christi, Texas, to Alameda, California, Monterey, California (where he attended Naval Post Graduate School), and Whidbey Island, Washington.
When David retired in July 1983 from Norfolk, Virginia, after 23 years in the U.S. Navy, they settled in Fines Creek. David spent a year building their forever home where they would pass the years together holding social gatherings with family and friends. An avid gardener, fisherman, and golfer, he also taught Adult Education at University of Tennessee – Knoxville and Western Carolina University and was a Junior ROTC instructor at Pisgah High School.
David was vibrant and witty. He cared greatly for his commitment to loved ones and veterans. David had a special spot for his great-grandkids often giving them treats and sneaking them presents. They have a special love and bond that will last forever. All who knew him will miss him for his infectious laughter and ability to fix anything you handed him from computers to machinery. We cherish his memory and take heart in knowing we will see him again.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the Salisbury State VA Home and Black Mountain State VA Home for the excellent care of Mr. Smith in his final month.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, 2021, in the Waynesville chapel of Wells Funeral Home with The Reverend Laura Jones officiating. Military honors will follow. The family will receive friends from 5 until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at the funeral home.
The care of Mr. Smith has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at www.wellsfuneralhome.com.