Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Eye doctor first had career as pharmacist

Dr. Charles L. Smith, a retired ophthalmologist who practiced in Perrysburg for 32 years, died Thursday in his home there of progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare brain disorder. He was 77.

Dr. Smith's practice was at the corner of East Boundary Street and Indiana Avenue, where ophthalmology offices are still located.

He practiced for many years with the late Dr. James Cooper.

"His patients came from all over," his daughter Clare Gorski said. "He drew them from Swanton, Wauseon, Montpelier, Bryan, Bowling Green, and across Wood County."

Dr. Smith began his professional life as a pharmacist working in his father's Rexall Drug Store in Swanton. But he had two older brothers who were doctors, and after eight years as a pharmacist, following his father's retirement and the sale of the business, decided to become a physician himself.

"He was always discussing medicine with his older brothers," who were role models, explained his wife, Kathleen, to whom he was married 49 years.

He returned to the University of Michigan, where he had earned his degree in pharmacy science, and entered medical school, graduating in 1966. Four years later, he completed his residency in ophthalmology at the UM Medical Center.

Dr. Smith's practice was general ophthalmology, and he was kept busy with refractions, cataract removals, and lens implants. He retired in 2002.

His daughter Amy Smith followed in her father's footsteps and is an ophthalmologist in suburban Detroit.

In retirement, Dr. Smith continued to enjoy summers at his cottage on Devils Lake, in Lenawee County, Mich., a place he had visited all his life. He and Mrs. Smith also continued to travel widely, visiting several continents. Often they traveled with groups from the Toledo Museum of Art.

Dr. Smith was a golfer and sailor and belonged to the Devils Lake Yacht Club, where he was commodore in 1984. His social memberships included the Toledo Club, Belmont Country Club, and the Carranor Hunt and Polo Club. He was a season ticket holder for UM football games, and belonged to the university's Presidents and Victors clubs.

Professional memberships included the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Toledo Ophthalmological Society, the Wood County Medical Society, and the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Smith was a staff member at St. Luke's and Wood County hospitals and a member of the advisory board of UM's Kellogg Eye Center.

He also funded an annual scholarship at Perrysburg High School for a top science student.

Dr. Smith grew up in Swanton and graduated from Swanton High School.

Surviving are his wife, Kathleen; daughters, Dr. Amy Smith and Clare Gorski; son, Keller; brother, Dr. Robert Smith, and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in First United Methodist Church, 200 West Second St., Perrysburg.

The family will receive visitors at the Witzler-Shank Funeral home, 222 East South Boundary St., Perrysburg, from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and 2 to 8 p.m. Friday.

The family request tributes to the church, the Way Public Library Foundation, or CurePSP.

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