The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Treasurer Smith Passes Away

Charlie Smith 

Five-term Former Wisconsin State Treasurer Charles P. “Charlie” Smith

He was very proud of his contributions to the Unclaimed Property initiative around the country and  routinely stopped by the office to check on how many claims were being processed and how much money we had given back to Wisconsin citizens.” –Mary Celentani, former Wisconsin Unclaimed Property Administrator


Charles P. “Charlie” Smith, age 88, of Madison, left this world with family by his side on Saturday, July 12, 2014, at Agrace HospiceCare.


Although he was born in Chicago, he was a lifelong Wisconsin resident. The youngest child of William A. and Lillian C. Smith, Charlie spent his early years in Oconto, on the shores of Green Bay, where he attended Lincoln School. After his father passed away, the family moved to Madison in 1940 where they lived at 38 Breese Terrace and he enrolled in West High School. After graduating in 1944, Charlie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went on to serve in the South Pacific and on Okinawa with the 7th Regiment of the First Marine Division. On Okinawa, he was wounded in action for which he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation.


Charlie was on convalescent leave when he returned to Madison in 1945 and met his love and best friend, Bernadette “Bert” Carroll. They were married in Milwaukee in August of 1947. After his discharge from the military, he went on to Milton College where he earned a B.A. with majors in history and sociology and minors in English and political science by the time he graduated in 1950. For the next 11 years, his young family moved frequently as his work for Dane County, Mobil Oil Co., Guardian Life Insurance Co., College Life Insurance Co., and Olin Corporation at the Badger Army Ammunition Plant demanded. Finally in 1961, they were able to move “home” to their beloved Madison. Friends and acquaintances will fondly recall many a post-Badgers Football game party at the old house on South Spooner Street.


Bitten by the political bug, Charlie pursued a life in public service. He served as a supervisor on the Dane County Board, was active on the Madison Rivers and Lakes Commission, served on the Dane County Democratic Committee, and ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 1968. In 1970, he ran for state treasurer again, was elected, and went on to serve the people of Wisconsin for four more terms until his retirement in 1991. One of his biggest achievements while in the Treasury was the investment of idle state funds with the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.


He served on the State of Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, was a founding and active member of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) and instrumental in implementing the State of Wisconsin Unclaimed Property Program to return unclaimed property to the citizens of Wisconsin. He was a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1972 for George McGovern, in 1980, for Ted Kennedy and 1984, for Gary Hart. Charlie also served his local community on the boards of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Dane County, the Madison Opportunity Center and Wisconsin Special Olympics.


Charlie enjoyed his family and friends, Dixieland jazz, boating and being near the water, travelling, meeting new people and spending time at the condo in Cable. His proudest accomplishments were having been elected a constitutional officer by the people of Wisconsin, his wealth of friends – Democrat and Republican alike, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and most of all, his loving wife of almost 67 years, Bert. He will be forever remembered as a friend to all, and for his wonderful sense of humor.


Charlie is survived by his wife, Bert; son, Steve Smith (Jeanne) of Madison; daughter, Megan Smith (Jen Kern) of Seattle, Wash.; daughter, Haley Smith of Madison; granddaughters, Tonya Vike (Tim), Kristyn Blazich (Michael) and Lisa Bayorek (Charlie); as well as grandchildren, Russell and Brooke Vike, Sam and Will Blazich and CJ and Landon Bayorek; and his twin sister, Nancy Simeone. Charlie was preceded in death by his parents; his older brother, Bill Smith; nephew, Michael Smith; and his son, Charles P. “Charlie” Smith II.


A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at NOON on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at ST. MARIA GORETTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5313 Flad Ave., Madison. Relatives and friends may call on the family at the church from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass. Monsignor Michael Burke will officiate.


In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorials be made to the Goodman Community Center or St. Maria Goretti Parish. The family would like thank the staff at the UW Hospital First Day Surgery Unit, F6/Urology, Dr. Jennifer Passini and the compassionate caregivers of Agrace HospiceCare.


From the Wisconsin State Journal

Read more:  Charlie Smith was ‘one of the truly decent people’


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