Keeper Charner Smith
Principal Keeper (Office in Charge) of Ponce Inlet Light Station June 11, 1945 - January 28, 1949 Born 1902, Died 1989
Charner Smith was born on August 25, 1902 at Mullet Creek, the family homestead north of Sebastian Inlet on the east coast of Florida. Charner grew up working in the citrus groves and later operated as a commercial fisherman both offshore and in the intracoastal waterway. From 1937 to 1944 he served aboard the buoy tender Althea. In charge of the deck, he maintained the buoys, ranges and beacon lights from Charleston, South Carolina to Cape Florida.
Charner enlisted in the Coast Guard on April 22, 1940 and took charge of Fowey Rocks Lighthouse upon leaving the Althea in 1944. His tenure there was marked by the movement of the United States fleet of ships from the European war to the Pacific area. Charner Smith was transferred to the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse on June 15, 1945 as officer in charge. He retired on physical disability on February 1, 1949. During that time his family which included a wife, Ruby and a son Robert was blessed with the last child born to a family while living in the lighthouse; a daughter, Suzanne.
Upon his retirement from the Coast Guard, Smith was Dockmaster at the Daytona Beach Municipal Yacht Basin for sixteen years. After his tenure there, Charner piloted private yachts for hire from Florida to as far north as Troy, New York on the Hudson River. Charner Smith died on September 27, 1989.