Charles O. Smith (Baltimore Sun )
Charles Orestus Smith, a retired CareFirst Medicare contractor who was an avid fan of the opera and symphony, died Jan. 3 of a heart attack at his home in the Northway Apartments in Guilford. He was 74.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Guilford, Mr. Smith was a 1954 graduate of Polytechnic Institute. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Army and was sent to the Army Language School in Monterey, Calif., where he learned Russian.
While serving in Japan, he met and married the former Yasuko Takagi in 1958. They divorced in 1998.
After being discharged from the Army, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1966 in language and linguistics from Georgetown University, where he also studied Russian and Japanese.
He went to work for the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn as a programmer and later worked for Medicare's model systems.
Mr. Smith eventually held various analytical positions for the Health Care Administration. In 1983, he moved with his family to Camarillo, Calif., when he took a job with Systems Development Corp., which was later purchased by Unisys.
In 1995, he returned to Baltimore and was a Medicare contractor for CareFirst until he retired in 2010.
"He was always ready to lend a hand to anyone who was in need," said his daughter, Sara G. Lambert of Camarillo.
It wasn't uncommon for Mr. Smith, who enjoyed cooking, to prepare meals and take them to residents at AIRS House, a facility for AIDS patients.
He enjoyed attending performances and supporting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the old Baltimore Opera Company.
Mr. Smith enjoyed entertaining and was an accomplished needlepoint worker. He was also an art collector.
He was a member of the Johns Hopkins Club.
Mr. Smith was a longtime communicant of Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Charles and Saratoga streets, where a memorial service will be held at noon Jan. 19.
Also surviving are a son, Charles P.T. Smith of Camarillo; two grandsons; and special friend, Gabriel Garcia of Baltimore.