Charles Edward Smith “Charlie” was born December 17, 1936, in Pocatello, ID to Edward and Jessie (Cornforth) Smith. He was raised in Pocatello and graduated from Gem State Academy in May 1955.
Charlie met his wife, Jo Isaacs Smith, of 67 years, in Caldwell, ID and they were married in Pendleton, OR on September 16, 1956.
Charlie received his BS Degree in Biology from Walla Walla College in 1960. He continued studies in bacteriology, pathology, immunology, and immune pathology at Montana State University, after moving to Bozeman, MT in 1968. Charlie’s research career began in 1961 at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Western Fish Nutrition Laboratory (WFNL), in Willard, WA. He transferred to the USFWS Bozeman Fish Technology Center (FTC) in 1968 working his way up to Director of the Center in 1985. He continued as Center Director until his retirement in 1993, after 32 years of service. During his work at the WFNL Charlie worked as assistant to Dr. L.M. Ashley, one of the few pioneer fish histopathologists, studying the cause of liver cancer in rainbow trout, a project funded by the National Cancer Institute. During this time he also conducted research studies on the hematology and clinical chemistry of nutritionally deficient salmon. Charlie was colleague, mentor, and friend to numerous individuals throughout the United States and Canada, as well as Eduador and Mexico. He authored or co-authored more than 90 scientific manuscripts and book chapters related to fish diseases, including cancer, infectious diseases, nutrition, and toxicology, as well as fish culture. Charlie provided diagnostic histopathological support to colleagues, graduate students, and numerous federal and state fish health laboratories throughout the United States and Canada lacking this expertise. After retiring from the USFWS Charlie worked part time as Pathologist and Aquaculture Specialist, for Rangen, Inc. in Buhl, ID from 1993 to 2002, than as an Independent Consultant from 2002 to 2013. Charlie was an Instructor for the USFWS Training Academy in Leetown, WV and later the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV where he taught various short courses for over 20 years. He was recipient of the American Fisheries Society/Fish Culture Section Hall of Fame Award, 1993; the USFWS, Region 6 Special Recognition Award, June 1993; and the United States Department of Interior Meritorious Service Award, 1993. More recently, Charlie was a recipient of the Northwest Fish Culture Hall of Fame Award, 2005, and the Clark & Mimi White, United States Trought Farmers Distinguished Service Award, 2011. Charlie was known for his kindness, and gentle, friendly manner.
From a young age Charlie loved basketball, fishing and hunting, horses and farming. He loved the outdoors and the mountains. He was interested in photography and developing film and always had his camera with him.
Charlie was active in his Church and Community volunteering at Mount Ellis Academy working with youth sports, teaching, and outdoor activities. He volunteered at the local fair selling tickets and running the doors and gates for the horse shows. He always had a few elderly men he would check in on helping them with projects and making sure they were doing okay. He would help guide on hunting trips and teach people all about fish and fishing. He was always willing to help out a neighbor in need.
Charlie’s work with the USFW was a large part of his life and he poured himself into it, mentoring people and making many friends along the way.
Charlie didn’t know a stranger; he loved people and had a heart for those in need, the broken and the elderly.
Charlie was an only child but had a large extended family, he had many aunts and uncles and cousins that he loved like brothers and sisters. Through the years it was important to him to stay in touch and spend time with them.
His children, grandchildren and great grandchildren meant the world to him and were his greatest joy. He was generous with his time, wisdom and finances. He was proud of his family and loved them all deeply. He also loved his wife Jo deeply and they were married for 67 years.
Charlie is survived by his wife, Jo Smith; son, Greg (Pam) Smith; daughters, Cheri (Bill) Kirkpatrick, Shanna (Matt) Sample, Shellie (Jeff) Leek; 10 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, Edward Smith; mother, Jessie Cornforth Smith and grandson, Aaron Snyder.