Photo: Charles Warren Smith (left) and Leon B Gathany (right) at the Grand Opening of The Leon and Rachel Gathany Museum of Natural History in 2013. Today they are celebrating together in Heaven.
Mr. Charles Warren Smith, age 91, of Addington Drive in Toccoa, Georgia passed away January 30, 2020 at the Oaks at Scenic View in Baldwin, GA.
Charles was a local pharmacist and dear friend of Leon Gathany.
Photo: Smith Pharmacy Staff Photo from 1969 Toccoa Falls Forrester yearbook.
He was a major player in the effort to establish the Leon & Rachel Gathany Museum of Natural History on the Toccoa Falls College campus.
Following are some excerpts from the autobiography of Leon Gathany describing Charlesâ€™ role and expressing Leon Gathanyâ€™s appreciation for his efforts.
Those of us who knew Charles respected his accomplishments and contributions, but also enjoyed his personality. The second excerpt here from the autobiography is an example of his unique character.
Occasionally, Charles Warren Smith said to me, â€œWhat is going to happen to all of your collections when you are gone?â€ My response was, â€œI hadnâ€™t even thought about it.â€ However, Charlesâ€™s question triggered some serious consideration in my mind, and the concept of housing all my collections in a Museum of Natural History was born. Shortly after that, some friends hosted a â€œget togetherâ€ in my honor, and the idea of a museum was discussed at that ceremony. From that point on plans began to materialize, and today the museum has become a reality.
Charles came up with a unique idea for raising funds for the building of the Leon and Rachel Gathany Natural Museum. He was able to have medallions â€œstruckâ€ by a firm up in Alberta, Canada, I believe. The idea was that when someone gave a donation, we, in turn, would give them a medallion. One side of the medallion is stamped with a picture of Toccoa Falls, and the other side has a picture of the â€œOld Man of the Mountainâ€; none other than me. The manufacturers gave me quite a â€œstashâ€ of the medallions, and I have given them to many of my friends. At the time, I tell them that these medallions are normally given to people who donate to my museum. I do not verbalize this, but my hope is that they will do the same.
I have great appreciation for the efforts of Charles Warren Smith and Jerry Snell, who were instrumental in raising funds for our museum. Most of the contributions came from the enthusiastic local community and the Toccoa Falls Alumni Association.â€
Hunting in Wyoming
Here is a humorous hunting story. Ken Deitle, a friend of ours, was a hunter. We hunted together on numerous occasions. He had been a former student at Toccoa Falls, but now was a Methodist pastor. One day he said to me, â€œCome over tomorrow morning early, eat breakfast with me, and then weâ€™ll go out hunting.â€
When I got to his house, I noticed that there was a gentleman sitting over in the corner. Ken introduced him as Charles Warren Smith. I acknowledged him and promptly forgot his name. The man sat there quietly, not saying a word, while Ken and I sat at the breakfast table. I was telling Ken all about my many hunting experiences, about the times when I hunted deer and antelope in Wyoming. This gentleman spent quite a bit of time with us as I was telling about all these exciting experiences. I didnâ€™t think any more about it, but we headed out to our hunting place; the stand we were going to occupy. This gentleman rode with us. Then he disappeared, and I didnâ€™t see him again.
Some weeks later there was a chicken-que at Toccoa Falls Elementary School, and since a couple of our kids were attending at the time, we decided we certainly ought to go and support it. When I walked through the door at the Chicken-Que this gentleman came up to me. I didnâ€™t remember ever seeing him before in my life. He said, â€œOh, there you are, do you remember when you and I hunted together in Wyoming?â€ I said to myself, â€œI donâ€™t think that I have ever seen this guy before. What is he talking about?â€ Then he proceeded to tell several interesting experiences that he claimed that he and I shared. He went on like that, and I was absolutely dumbfounded. I didnâ€™t know what was going on, and suddenly he stopped, looked at me and laughed, and he said, â€œDonâ€™t you remember me? I was sitting in the corner at Ken Deitleâ€™s the morning you were telling him all about your experiences in Wyoming.â€ It was then that I learned that Charles Warren Smith was quite a character.