He came to Ripley in 1965 and quickly became a part of the community, helping to champion Jackson County's first ever school bond. Though he was a dentist, he dealt very much with vision. He possessed a vision for what Jackson County could become. What followed was an impressive career of volunteerism and public service. He tackled the issues of flood control and the critical need for public housing all while operating a dentistry practice and pioneering new techniques. Throughout the years, he has been committed to helping others and improving the quality of life for all.
Dr. C. Edward Smith III retired on September 29, 2017.
He came to Ripley in 1965 and quickly became a part of the community, helping to champion Jackson County’s first ever school bond. Though he was a dentist, he dealt very much with vision. He possessed a vision for what Jackson County could become. What followed was an impressive career of volunteerism and public service. He tackled the issues of flood control and the critical need for public housing all while operating a dentistry practice and pioneering new techniques. Throughout the years, he has been committed to helping others and improving the quality of life for all.
Dr. C. Edward Smith III retired on September 29, 2017.
“I have had 52 plus wonderful years serving some great families in Ripley and the whole county as well as Mason and Roane Counties. I will miss seeing the several generations of families that I have had the privilege of providing dentistry.” He has been very fortunate to have a wonderful staff over the years. Delia Campbell has been commuting from Mason County for the past 14 years to run his front office, and his oldest son has been working with him side-by-side for the past three years.
A native of the coalfields of Kanawha County, Dr. Smith came to love the Ripley area as a youngster. “I came to Jackson County with my father to hunt in the 1950s and 1960’s, and fell in love with the county. When I graduated from dental school, I had a chance to go into practice in several states but I knew Ripley was where I wanted to practice. I have never been sorry. I have had a wonderful practice with so many patients that have become like family, and many are dear friends. It has been a great community for my wife and me to raise our sons. It is home,” Dr. Smith said.
The dedication and discipline needed to become a dental professional were developed at an early age. Dr. Smith was an Eagle Scout at the age of 14 and he was also the State champion drum major twirler. The 1959 East Bank
High graduate was one of America’s top twirlers and was successful in state and national competitions for over six years and earned a coveted Board of Governors Scholarship for Athletic Achievement to West Virginia University. During his time in Morgantown, Dr. Smith performed at every basketball and football game and also appeared at the Orange Bowl on two occasions.
That experience under pressure and the demand for precision has served him well. “As a dentist, you have to perform every day,” he said. On two separate occasions Dr. Smith stepped in and saved the lives of drowning victims at the Rippling Waters Campground.
Dr. Smith had planned to be the featured twirler at WVU for four years, but in 1962 when he was accepted early into dental school, his athletic scholarship was removed as it was only to cover undergraduate studies. Undaunted, the 20‐yearold threw himself into his studies and took on work after classes to support his education. His family doctor had wanted him to attend medical school but Dr. Smith was determined to chart his own course and dental school it would be. He would attend without fail, five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until his graduation in 1965.
Just weeks later, in June of that year, Dr. Smith opened his practice in the Judge Oliver Kessel Building on Main Street in downtown Ripley. It was during this time that Dr. Smith became friends with local minister Dr. Rev. Basil Hensley and he soon became a member of Epworth United Methodist Church and has remained there for 52 years. Dr. Smith has served the church in a number of offices the past five decades, including Chairman of the Church Council and Finance Committee.
In 1967, he married his wife Diana March. Both Dr. and Mrs. Smith have been active members of the community and raised two sons Chaed and Salem. Mrs. Smith has served as the State Director of the GFWC Woman’s Clubs of WV and was president of the Ripley Junior Woman’s Club, Ripley Woman’s Club, Ripley Jaycettes, Ripley Elementary PTO, Ripley High School Parent Advisory Council, Ripley Garden Club and the Jackson General Hospital Foundation Board. As their sons became involved in Scouting, so too would Dr. Smith and his wife. Both boys went on to become Eagle Scouts. Together, the Smiths also operated a 200+ acre farm.
Dr. Smith was determined to contribute to the betterment of the area. He was appointed to the Mill Creek Watershed Committee. It was during this time that he witnessed firsthand the need for public housing in Jackson County. His efforts in lobbying the County Commission to create the Jackson County Housing Authority were successful and he was appointed chairman of the Authority. Under his leadership, the Rolling Meadows complex at Fairplain and Tanglewood Villa at Sycamore were both constructed. Dr. Smith has also served as President of the Ripley Rotary Club and oversaw the construction of the picnic shelters in the City Park and the fencing of the high school baseball field. As a member of the Ripley Jaycees, he directed the Toys for Tots Christmas Basket program. Dr. Smith has always been an avid outdoorsman. Working with former Conservation Officer George Armstrong, he helped restock Jackson County with wild turkeys.
His best friends through the years have been Dr. James Hughes and Dr. Ali Morad.
His best friends through the years have been Dr. James Hughes and Dr. Ali Morad. The three men maintained a successful medical building partnership for over 34 years located at 146 Pinnell Street on the campus of Jackson General Hospital.
Dr. Smith’s future plans include spending time with his grandchildren Kaylee and Aidan and of course more hunting and fishing.
Dr. Smith stated, “Dentistry can be a stressful profession, but it is very rewarding. You are doing your best every day in helping your patients keep their teeth clean and cavity free, keeping their teeth healthy and strong, and preventing them from getting gum disease. Gum disease can cause so many health problems. It is a joy to see them coming back year after year, and the next thing you know you are seeing their children and then their grandchildren. It has been quite an honor to have earned their trust.”
Dr. Smith has received many notes of thanks over the years. Jim Pearson, a former patient and minister wrote, “I would drive from Myrtle Beach overnight to see Dr. Ed Smith, then from upstate New York for an appointment, and Dr. Ed Smith was always there and had time for me.”
Dr. Craig Swann, DO, recently posted these comments on Facebook: “C. Edward Smith, DDS, (retired). I would like to recognize a very special friend, Dr. Ed Smith, who after a brilliant 52 year career, retired today. Many generations of families have visited Ed for his expertise, gentleness, and kindness. Have you ever listened to his hunting and fishing stories? It has been my privilege to have my office next door to his, and listen to the stories and have him relay his wisdom of life to me. He is truly another Angel given to us to care for his fellow man. God’s speed Ed and happy retirement.
Ripley and Jackson County share those sentiments. Thank you Dr. C. Edward Smith for your dedication and service and many outstanding contributions to our community.