A Loving Tribute

Carl James Smith

September 25, 1944 – December 29, 2023
Submitted by Valerie Smith


It is with deep sorrow that we announce the peaceful passing of Carl James Smith on December 29, 2023, at the age of 79, after bravely facing a decline in health. Born on September 25, 1944, in Reading, Pennsylvania, Carl lived a life of dedicated service with an unwavering passion for helping others.

Carl leaves behind a legacy of love and commitment, survived by his beloved wife, Cheryl Riley, with whom he had many fun adventures. He will be fondly remembered by his daughter, Valerie Smith, and her partner, John; son, Christopher Smith, his wife, Krista Sheets, and their children, Parker and Bella; stepdaughter, Erin Riley Kocourek and her husband, Elden; stepdaughter, Kerry Riley, and her daughter, Piper Bastian. Carl is also survived by his brother, Herb Smith, and his wife, Andi; his sister, Kelly Horning; her husband, Dean; and their daughter, Riley; as well as other members of the “Smith Clan.”

Carl’s life was marked by service to his country, dedicating 30 years to the US Navy and achieving the esteemed rank of Commodore during Desert Storm. His commitment extended to the state of West Virginia, where he served for over 30 years as the State Geologist and Director of the WV Geological Survey before retiring. Carl was a proud member of the Military Officers Association in Florida, a devoted Lions Club member in Palm Harbor, FL Chapter 11, and a thoughtful contributor to the Parish Council of St. Frances De Sales Catholic Church. He left an indelible mark on the communities he served.

Known for his zest for life and love of red wine, Carl was a captivating storyteller and a source of joy to those around him. Quick with a joke and a warm smile, he forged friendships wherever life took him. His absence will be keenly felt by all who had the privilege of crossing paths with him.

Carl is preceded in death by his late wife of 36 years, Trudy DiSabella Smith; his son, Carl Jr.; his daughter, Trudy Ann; his mother and stepfather, June (Haage) and Harold Bechtel; and his father, Herbert Smith.

During Carl’s final days, the family expresses profound gratitude for the compassionate care provided by HopeWest Hospice Care and Care Facility in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Honor Carl with a donation to HopeWest

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You can also donate by mail. Send a check to:

3090 N. 12th Street
Grand Junction, CO 81506