Robert “Rob” Klinton Smith, 57, of Atlantic, died Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, at Carteret Health Care, surrounded by his family after a long hospital stay battling the affects from COVID-19.
His celebration of life was Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Smyrna Pentecostal Holiness Church.
Rob was born to the late William John Smith and Rita Salter Smith in Misawa, Japan where his Dad was stationed while in the US Air Force on May 14th, 1964. He married the love of his life, Linda Willis Smith on June 29th, 1984. They were high school sweet-hearts, and were together their whole lives. They celebrated their 37th anniversary this past June. His greatest joy was when their daughter, Katie, was born on November 6th, 1996. He said that he knelt down that day and prayed, “Lord, I want a daughter who looks like her mama, and thinks like me.” He knew God had to have a laugh at that, but indeed, his prayer was answered.
Rob was a beloved husband, an adoring father, a man of God, accomplished diver, marine and air craft electrician, boat captain, marine archaeologist, historical researcher, and author. He served in the US Air Force for four years, earned the rank of Sergeant, and was stationed at the Charleston Air Force Base in Charleston, SC. He dedicated his life to the exploration of waters less traveled and depths undisturbed, and was regarded by everyone he knew as a force of nature. From the Queen Anne’s Revenge to the Lost Tanker project, and the discovery of Fort Ocracoke, he strived to challenge the status quo, and ensure that history was never forgotten, earning him a reputation for his tenacity and commitment to his life’s work. The founding member of the team, the name Robert Smith became synonymous with SIDCO and the representative of the core values of the company. He wrote several books about these projects, like ‘The Shipwreck of the Olive Thurlow’ which he self-published, and ‘The History of Fort Ocracoke in Pamlico Sound’ which was published by The History Press in 2015. His passion was always to preserve the past so that future generations could learn and enjoy it.
He is survived by his wife, Linda; and his daughter, Katie of the home; his sister, Kathy Jo Fulcher of Morehead City; niece and nephew-in-law, Heather and Guy Carpenter of Morehead City; great nephew, Garrett Carpenter; aunt and uncle, Diane and Steve Sapp of Excelsior Springs, MO; uncle and aunt, Guy and Myrnaloy Smith of Rapid City SD; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Gene and Nancy Willis of Williston; sister-in-law, Marilyn Deruise, and husband, Billy Deruise of Newport; sister-in-law, Teresa Lane of Williston; brother-in-law, Wayne Willis of Otway; nephew, Gage Willis of Otway; cousin, David Brandon Smith of New Bern, who was like a son to him; and many cousins of SD, MO, and NC, beloved friends, and team members of SIDCO. He is also survived by the many animals and “fur babies” that he held near and dear to his heart.
A special thank you to all SIDCO members, past and present, for sharing in his passion and helping him achieve his dreams.
A special thanks to the many caretakers at Carteret Health Care that gave him such love, and cared for him through his long hospital stay. Your kindness and caring gave him the strength to keep fighting for as long as he did.
Arrangements by Noe Funeral Service, Inc. of Beaufort, NC. Condolences and life tributes may be sent to the family at www.noefs.net.