Dedicated Roseburg community servant Fred Smith dies at 92

May 24, 2019

The Roseburg community lost one of its most engaged and passionate members this past weekend.

Fred Smith, a Roseburg resident for more than 60 years, died Saturday at the age of 92.

Smith, who was born in Portsmouth, England, and served in the British Army during World War II, immigrated to the U.S. in 1951 with his wife, Pam, where they made Roseburg their home. He worked for Roseburg Forest Products for 37 years.

“He was quite the man,” said Mike Nores, executive director of the child abuse intervention nonprofit Douglas CARES. “This man was all over the place in the community. If there was a helping hand that was needed, there was Fred.”

Smith dedicated his time to countless community service initiatives, Nores said. After being raised in an abusive home, much of Smith’s volunteer work revolved around helping children in need.

He was a founding member of Douglas CARES and served on the nonprofit’s board for years. He was also part of the Douglas County Child Fatality Review Team and the Learning Child Committee at the Mercy Foundation.

The causes he was involved with were diverse. He volunteered for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the county mental health advisory board, Special Olympics Oregon and the Umpqua Gleaners.

In 1997, Smith was recognized as Roseburg First Citizen, an annual award given by the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce to someone particularly immersed in the community.

Seven years later, Smith was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer work by the governor. He was nominated by Nores’ wife and former Douglas CARES executive director, Evelyn Badger-Nores, who at the time said, “He’s spent nearly every day of his retired life volunteering in one way or another.”

It wasn’t only Smith’s community engagement that distinguished him, Nores said.

“He had just a wonderful family,” Nores said. Smith leaves behind three children, six grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, one great great grandchild, a daughter-in-law and two sons-in-law.

Scott Gilley, executive director of the children’s advocacy group CASA of Douglas County, said Smith was “small in stature, but large in character.”

Through CASA, Smith advocated for hundreds of children experiencing abuse, Gilley said.

“Someone who has been through it has the resiliency to have endured it and come out on the other side,” Gilley said.

He said Smith’s personal experience with child abuse gave him a special ability to help abused children build resiliency.

Gilley asks CASA volunteers to participate for at least two years, because children who receive services from the nonprofit need stability in often rapidly changing situations. Smith far surpassed that request, leaving behind a legacy of commitment and longevity, Gilley said.

“To have someone volunteer for 25 years, I mean, that’s a goal that you want for all of your volunteers,” Gilley said. “He always followed through with whatever he said he was going to do, and he was always there.”

Christy Smith said while her grandfather’s walls were covered with awards for volunteer work, Fred Smith didn’t do it for the recognition.

His reward was “being in a store and having a woman come up and say, ‘Hey, do you remember me? You helped me get me child back,’” Christy Smith said.

Smith taught his family “the meaning of love and sacrifice,” she said. “He did amazing things. He taught me to never give up on people that struggle, and to love and give back to the community.”

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