Obituary: Clark Smith
September 1, 1942 – November 13, 2022
Clark Cornwell Smith was born in Los Angeles, California on September 1st, 1942 to KC Smith and Gerald “Big Jerry” Smith. When he was young, he developed a love for fishing and the ocean and found a great escape through reading, writing and academics. He attended UCLA and earned his undergraduate degree in English literature and later attended UCSB where he achieved a master’s degree and all-but- dissertation in English literature. It was in Santa Barbara that he further developed his love for the ocean and began playing beach volleyball. It was also in Santa Barbara where he and his then wife, Virginia Carlson unofficially adopted his nephew, Gerald Smith. He developed his construction skills and became a renowned finish carpenter and began restoring houses and apartments for a living.
In 1979, Clark moved to Colorado for his love of skiing and trout fishing. He and Virginia bought a home and several rental properties in the Old North End of Colorado Springs as well as a home in Dillon, Colorado. In 1980 Clark’s daughter, Courtney, was born and in 1986 his son, Scott, was born. In 1988, Clark and Virginia divorced, and he moved to Dillon, Colorado which became his primary home. He still spent significant time in Colorado Springs and kept an apartment there to be close to his children and participate with Poetry West. While in Dillon, he enjoyed fishing on Straight Creek, canoeing on Lake Dillon, sledding with his children, and making witty and sarcastic remarks about tourists. He also logged significant hours sitting with his cat (William), smoking a pipe, and drinking lukewarm instant coffee at his typewriter. In the summer months, he planted and maintained a stunning flower garden full of columbines and delphiniums that would attract many photographers.
In the mid 2000’s, he partially embraced modern technology and traded his typewriter for a laptop and his rotary dial phone for a cellular. During this time, he bought a property in San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California where he enjoyed many marlin and tuna fishing trips. In 2006, he received the first of two Wurlitzer Foundation Artist in Residency awards in Taos, New Mexico. In 2012, he purchased a trailer that he towed behind his car, generally at slow but deliberate speeds. He frequently visited his daughter in Dillon, Colorado and Las Cruces, New Mexico as well as his son in Durango, Colorado. He and his small dog, Woofie, trailered many times to British Columbia and almost every state in the US. He considered these to be his most productive years for writing poetry, a novel, and a murder mystery. He also enjoyed international travel, with his personal highlights being Central America and Greece.
Clark was proceeded in death by his parents, his brother Gerald Stanley Smith Jr., his nephew Gerald Stanley Smith III, cat William “Mister” Smith, and dog Riley “Woofie”. He is survived by his daughter Courtney Stapleton Smith, son Scott Cornwell Smith (Jenn Hight), niece Leticia Watters (Larry), great nephews Spencer Elias Smith, Taylor (Leah) Watters, Logan (Christine) Watters.
His Celebration of Life and Poetry Reading will be held at the Mining Exchange Hotel in Colorado Springs on December 11th from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.
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