MEDFORD, Ore.– Dennis “C.W.” Smith was described by one friend as a man of ethics. Another said a jokester. But everyone seemed to agree, he did his best to serve and provide for everyone in the community.
“He was a pleasure to have around,” said a longtime friend Linda Turner.
Born in Medford in 1947, Smith spent his life helping others in the Rogue Valley.
“He was the only person that would dance with me after the after-game dances because my future husband was off to college,” said Turner. “And C.W. would take the time to grab me and say, ‘Let’s dance Linda.'”
Another childhood friend of Smith described how he was always there for others.
“He’s been just a lifelong friend,” said Tom Dew. “Probably my best friend and I love Gina and Denny and the kids and very, very important people to me.”
Smith found the best way to help the most people by serving and he did that in a variety of public positions throughout the Rogue Valley.
From 12 years as Jackson County Sheriff and a long career in law enforcement, to his more recent work as a Jackson County commissioner, Smith was a prolific member of the community.
“He had a special feeling and a sensitivity for people and their ways and their feelings,” said Turner.
“He just was always there to help people in need,” said Dew. “He was a storyteller.”
Those characteristics continued, even as Smith began to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Dew says he aspires to be just as good a storyteller as Smith by sharing his memories with other’s.
“Good stories and memories we have,” he said. “You know, we’ll lose Denny but we’ll never lose the memories of the things we did together and the fun we had together.”
“God put him on this earth for a good reason and he made a lot of people happy,” said Turner.
C.W. Smith passed away last month at 71 years old. He is survived by his wife, Gina and their three children.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.