Luther Smith

Obituary of Luther John Smith

Luther John “Chuck” Smith was born November 17, 1950, to parents who struggled in his early years, he had many siblings, some he lost touch with when he eventually ended up with the Helle family in Elmsford, NY.  He was able to stay with and grow up with a few of his natural siblings and became a brother to Helle’s children as well.  He had a good childhood and often recounted stories from growing up in the Beaver Hill neighborhood.  In later years he did have an opportunity to reconnect with siblings too. 

He attended schools at Pocantico Hills in the early years and later graduated from Sleepy Hollow High School in 1969.  After high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served as an airplane mechanic in Vietnam and Thailand until he was honorably discharged in 1973 having achieved the rank of SGT E4.  He had been assigned to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane which is how he ended up here in Washington state. 

After his military service Chuck stayed in Washington state securing jobs as a mechanic and later in management at various shops including Goodyear tire stores in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and in the Redmond/Kirkland area.  He attended Pierce College Ft Steilacoom campus in 1985 earning Associate Degrees in Business and Business Management. 

Later he took on a position installing cable for a company that went by various names but eventually became Comcast.  He would often boast that he installed cable service to a large portion of Pierce and south King counties.   

In 1999 Chuck suffered a serious injury to his right foot after he fell from a ladder while working for the cable company.  This led to amputation of his right lower leg in 2005, but with the use of a prosthetic leg he was able to be more active in his life.  He loved designing new prosthetics with various pictures made from t-shirts and would proudly display his leg by wearing shorts no matter how cold the weather! 

In 2002 Chuck met Arlene (Shove) Ferguson in an AOL friend group online.  He proposed on Christmas Eve in 2003, and on July 2, 2005, they married in Lakewood WA and continued to live in the Pierce county area including Lakewood, NE Tacoma and Spanaway WA.  Their home was (and is) always open to family and friends! 

Chuck had struggled with addiction to opioid medications after his many surgeries, both due to his injury and other health issues.  He became an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous in the fall of 2005 after spending some time in treatment.  He continued his journey in sobriety and would have celebrated 18 years in the program of recovery on 11/17/23.  There were many ups and downs over the years, but he was always ready to share his story and help the next suffering alcoholic/addict find their way into sobriety. 

He leaves behind a large community of people who loved him and will miss him dearly, but he left them all a message to share moving forward in life – be of service to others and live one day at a time. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, some siblings, and other relatives along the way, but he is survived by his sisters Lucille, Eleanor and Elaine along with many nieces and nephews. 

Known as Papa Chuck to all the grandkids acquired through the years, he loved them and felt blessed to spend time (and spoil them all):  Shaian Franklin (22), Jayden Franklin (16), Christopher Granger (21) and wife Lilith, Jeremiah Granger (19), Rachael Granger (16), Anastasia Granger (13), Lila Bowen (14), Isabella Benham (8), Ryder Benham (4), and Rosalie Benham (2).   

He is remembered with much love by Brandy Cramer & Ricky Franklin, Daniel & Jenny Granger, and James & Wendy Benham.  He was blessed to call them all daughters and sons and loved them all without reservation.  Family was always the most important thing to him. 

His loving wife, Arlene, is keeping the home fires burning and keeping his memory alive for all.  He was a most loving husband who will be missed every day, but the blessings live on as we share together our thoughts and memories of Chuck. 

Although he was preceded in death by many family members and friends over the years, and we know they were all there to greet him at the gates of heaven.   

In the past year he was blessed to have been able to be part of the American Marriage Ministries and was an officiant at 3 very different weddings.  He was blessed to officiate the wedding ceremony for the daughters of two good friends.  The wedding he was most honored to be asked to officiate was when he was asked to marry a most beloved cousin to the love of her life.  

Last Christmas we were still able to host our annual Christmas Eve prime rib dinner for family and some close friends.  Blessed to have all 11 grandchildren and their parents in the same place at the same time, it was his greatest joy. 

He was so happy this past summer to be able to take a vacation that spanned time at the ocean with travel to eastern Washington/north Idaho.  We spent time with family and friends which was such a blessing. 

Although he is not physically present with us now, he is among us as he was loved by a large community of people in all walks of life.  He loved to talk, and we are sure he is still sharing his message through all the folks here who were blessed to know him! 

Celebration of Life December 9th at the Star Center Journey Hall 3873 S. 66th St, Tacoma WA 98409 from 12pm – 2:30pm with light snacks and beverages.   

In lieu of flowers please free to donate to a charity of your choice, some of Chuck’s favorites were St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, local Humane Society or animal rescue organizations, American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association. 

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Celebration of Life

12:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Star Center
3873 S 66th St
Tacoma, Washington, United States
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