May 28, 1947 ~ August 7, 2020

Born in: Waco, TX
Resided in: Akron, OH

On August 7, 2020 cradled in the arms of his beloved wife Charmaine Nicole, William “Rod” “Big Rod” Smith headed True North to his final port of call. To know him, no explanation is necessary, if you did not none would ever be possible.

William R. Rod “Roddy” Smith was born on May 28, 1947 in Waco Texas

Upon his return to Akron to live with his mother Dorothy, and his maternal grandparents Opa and Nonni Vander Linden, he spent his first years in West Akron living in the Firestone mansion gate house.

His family then moved to Green,/ Portage Lakes where he remained the rest of his life.

Big Rod attended Green high school where he excelled in track and field.

Upon graduation from high school, he left for Morehead University in Kentucky where he spent the next three years studying history. And what a history buff he was

He served in the Army Reserves stateside for 5 years.

He then applied to the Akron Police Department where he served the city as a traffic officer, founding member of the APD swat team, worked in the narcotics division , was one of the founders of APD’s rescue dive team , was a police Gold medal Olympian in power lifting finishing his career in robbery/homicide. He was featured on Cold Case files several times for his crime solving ability. His career spanned 32 years

During his career on the date of August 10, 1990 he met who was to be the love of his life, Charmaine (Nikster to Rod) Smith and their incredible love story spanned three decades.

They were inseparable and completely devoted to each other and their family during their 30 years together.

He finished he stellar career in 2002 and spent the rest of his life with his wife enjoying traveling, riding his harley davidson, scuba diving, enjoying the love of family and friends.

He loved hosting parties at his beautiful home with his wife and children always welcoming anyone and everyone who came to the door.

He had an amazlingly keen sense of art and design ,and was quite proud of designing the home that he and his family lived in.

.WRS #504 was a friend to everyone he met. He had charisma, class, charm and respect for each and every person he came in contact with. He had an uncanny ability to draw people close to him.

He had no enemies. He was gentle and kind. He was funny and you knew if Big Rod walked into a room, you were in for a good time. He lived his life to the fullest. As Rod would say he lived “large”

He was intensly proud of his two son’s Andrew and Joey who followed in his footsteps serving their respective cities of Akron Ohio APD and Bellvue Washington State PD on the swat team , detective bureau and motorcycle brigade. He was present at both of his boy’s swearing in, and pinning their badges on each of them respectively was one of the proudest days of his life.

Rod was preceded in death by his Opa and Nonni Vander Linden, and his father Merle Smith

He will be forever missed by his adoring wife,and his service dog Sammie Sweetheart

HIs mother Dorothy Vander Linden Smith and mother in-law Joann Letta


Michael (Paula) Lytz, Andrew (Melissa) Smith Stacey (Matt) Lambes Elisa (Jon) Pierson and Joseph (Maddie) S Smith


Pam (Joe) Barkley, Guy (Terri) Smith Cornelius (Linda) Smith

Keith (Mel) Mason Kitty (Paul) Graham, Kimberly (Ernie) Mason-Vansaw Linda (Bob) Kurczewski, Burt Mason, Brett Mason, David (Jody) Mason , Adam Mason (deceased)

His precious grandchildren

Anna, Caroline, Braden, Charlie, Cruz, Lucas, and Nora

Sisters and brother in law Michelle (DeVitis) Stephanie & Orlando Rodriguez

Many nieces and nephews & countless friends and family. Way too many to list.

Special friends

Patti and Doc (Parks) Kilgore

Frank and Phyllis Zahler

Nancy and Larry Stott

Terri and Rick Mills

Jim and Ramona Hicks

Jerry Foys

My love is a tall ship

I watched helplessly from the rocky shore whilst a million tears flow down my cheek.

The cheeks my love so gently kissed

I tried with all my strength to pull my tall ship back to shore so that I might climb aboard just one more time and set sail for the next adventure

But alas, all I can do is watch as it drifted further and further into the abyss

I watched with love that pours forth with every beat of my broken heart

It continued to drift further and further away.

Love was not enough to battle the raging sea , and the swells are getting higher and higher

The salty sea washes away everything on deck

I sit alone on the shore and reminisce about the countless voyages I took with my tall ship

There are times that the fog and the mist cleared and I got a glimpse of my tall ship and hoped that it had turned it’s giant wheel True North to head back to me

But it does not

The sun is now setting giving way to a beautiful red sky which casts a calm glow upon this majestic ship

It was once so strong

We weathered every storm with strength , confidence, courage and endless love

But now I fear my tall ship my sweet love that I cannot join you on this final voyage

The sun has set, and I have lost sight of my tall ship in the darkness of the night

But you, and you alone my love will forever be the captain of my tall ship, the captain of my heart , my soul my very being

And faithfully and forever , I will be you’re first mate.

Sail away MiAmor’ to the Heavenly ports of call

I love you

Rod was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Chapel (Father Carley) and the FOP #7

Countless other charities

A special thank you to Serenity Hospice for their in home gentle care for my husband.

A graveside service will be held on Friday, August 14, 2020 at 1:30 PM at Holy Cross Akron, 100 East Waterloo Road. A procession to Holy Cross will form at Hummel Funeral Home 500 E. Exchange St. at 1 PM.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Akron FOP Lodge 7, 2610 Ley Dr, Akron, OH 44319 or Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel, 2935 Chenoweth Ave Akron, OH. 44312.

View full obituary at HummelCares.com


Graveside Service: August 14, 2020 1:30 pm - August 14, 2020 2:00 pm

Holy Cross Akron
100 East Waterloo Road
Akron, OH 44319

(330) 724-1297

Procession: August 14, 2020 1:00 pm - August 14, 2020 1:15 pm

Hummel Funeral Home- Akron
500 E. Exchange St.
Akron, OH 44304

(330) 253-6126

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  1. We will miss you Rod. You will always be remembered with love. Thank you Nikki and Joey for taking care of him and loving him as you did.

  2. Charmaine and extended family.
    I was glad to at least meet Rod and get to know him via conversations with Charmaine over the years. May his spirit sail on. Thoughts, prayers, and love. God Bless.
    Patricia Ostroski

  3. Rod was such a huge part of my growing up! Between hanging out with Andy, my childhood best friend, and being a part of the Akron Police family as my dad served as well, the memories are countless!! Living across the street from one another had it’s advantages. There was a period of time when both Rod and My dad where part of the motorcycle brigade. Andy and I would walk up the street to await there arrival so we could get a ride home on the Harley’s! I will be forever grateful for knowing Rod and the influence he had on me as a kid growing up. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you transition through this time, and my memories of Rod will always stay near to my heart!

  4. My thoughts and prayers to the family and especially Rod’s children. Our kids grew up together and I truly enjoyed knowing Rod and his great sense of humor. He certainly did live large!

  5. My Roddy…you will be missed…and to Charmaine..My Love to you and Family.
    As always and Forever, Aunt Helen

  6. Charmaine, we are very sorry for your loss. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers. Mike & Shirley Letta

  7. Rod will be greatly missed. We worked together at APD and he was a legend, character and friend. I’m sorry for his loss. Prayers and blessings to his family.

  8. Niki family and friends , we have lost a great man who was a great husband, father , grandfather and family member and friend. Rod was a public servant in so many ways . He had a heart bigger than the man he was and his legacy will live in the souls of all those he had the opportunity to know. I’ve known Rod for over 45 years , we had many good times living in Portage Lakes , Ohio making great memories . I sold Rod one of our Cottages on Flynn, he docked his boat at my home. The beauty of being a believer is that when God calls you home , you are joined with those loved ones who left before you , free of pain and suffering . Rod is now in Gods Kingdom, Rest In Peace my brother! Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you who loved Rod. Stay strong and have Faith in God , he will get you thru this !

    • Terry- I can speak for several 40-somthings from Green… Thank you for the memories. (Statute of limitations not withheld) Forever grateful for Flynn. “I bring you the boy. Bring me back the man”

  9. Our world was bigger because of the friendship of Big Rod! We love you and will miss you. Nikki, you are a hero for your loving care of Rod and we pray that God will hold you in the palm of His hand as you walk your future days. You are in our hearts! Love you to and the family.

  10. My heart aches for you all! Big Rod was a “one in a million” kinda guy. Many, many fond memories of this great man! I imagine he and my late husband, Larry, are yukkin’ it up big time. One day we will be reunited, I pray the Lord comforts you and keeps you all until that day. Prayers and hugs to you all!

  11. My thoughts and prayers to you, Charmaine, and all your family.
    Beautifully written obituary!
    Even though I didn’t know Rod, by reading about him, I believe you had a wonderful life together and so much love was shared.
    May all your happy memories carry you through always! 💗😢🙏

  12. Our hearts go out to the entire family and friends. May all the Wonderful memories of time spent with him bring all his loved ones comfort and peace during this time of sorrow. Our sincere condolences.

  13. My friend for 58 years Hot Rod, I am sorry that I cannot make it on Aug 14th but you will always be part of my heart!

  14. Rod we will miss you greatly .I first met you at Canada Bottling 52 years ago .You always was there if needed . Rest in peace my great friend .Love Jim & Ramona .

  15. Rod, if all the people who loved and respected you showed up for your burial, they’d need buses to bring them all in. So we all stop to remember your passing in sadness. You were a guy, Rod, A real guy.

  16. So sorry for your loss! Lots of great memories at Mitch’s Lounge with Rod, Jerry, sonny, Larry and Larry and the rest of the gang of good guys! Our heartfelt condolences

  17. Rod and I joined the Akron Police Department together in 1969. What a guy to know and look up to for many years gone by. God bless him and his family and shed his grace upon them.

  18. Coming to East Liberty School in Green part way into 3rd. grade and not knowing anyone there was hard. So on my first day guess who the first kid that came up to me on the playground was ? Rodney and me always referred to each other as 3 rd. grade buddies even after HS.
    Mike Angelo

  19. I got to know Rod when I was selected for the SWAT team in the second group to join the team. Rod had been selected in the first group and it was during my time with SWAT that I first got to witness his sense of humor, courage, strength and dedication. During one training session practicing building entries, Rod and John Curnutte threw me through a window of a house on Honeywell St, so our squad could say we got inside first! During a rappelling training session I became upside down during a descent high above the Cuyahoga River and was falling fast. Rod had gone down ahead of me and was my belay man and he saved my life by being able to pull the ropes tight enough to stop my fall and allow me to get myself upright and descend safely feet first. And when it came time for a raid, there wasn’t anyone better to count on than Big Rod. I later served with Rod when he came to the Burglary Unit in the Detective Bureau. He was a great cop in all his assignments, a friend to many, a very wise man, and a genuine good guy with a tremendous sense of humor. I am priveliged to have known him. May he rest in peace and my prayers go out to his family for their huge loss.

  20. It was in 2019 that I first used the phrase “I have a brother” in the 66 years of my life. I discovered Rod – after 2 years of investigating my previously-unknown father Burton and grandfather Bill Mason – as the first of eight siblings to emerge from the fog of life’s complexity. He and Charmaine welcomed me as a “long-lost,” and were as kind, open and generous to me as I could have asked.

    It was one of the greatest compliments of my life that Rod considered me to be so much like him. We’d endured similar starts in life, rescued by our mothers from an erratic and often dishonest man and given a hopeful life of possibilities. From all I’ve learned, Rod made the most of his potential. (Egads, I’m related to a cop!)

    While I could regret not having my brother all my life, I must take comfort in that I had him at least for a short time, including two visits in which he could still muster recognition of me, bequeath love for me, and accept my love and respect in return. My grown son got to meet him and toast him. My life-partner Melanie, my children Alec and Cate and mother Jean share in my sadness that Rod was separated from us and his family.

    I have a chance to honor Rod, and maybe even explain him a bit, through the book I’ve done on my unique family history and how it fit into some eccentric chapters of American history. Included is a story he told me about the officer named Keith, now deceased, who mentored him in the card-table arts. With my emergence from the shadows, Rod said he was happy he again had a Keith in his life. I was glad to be there, to be that.

    I so wish I could’ve had Rod for another ten years or twenty; too bad I had to wait more than sixty-five to find him. Of course, anybody who knew him feels the same. There’s a lyric in there somewhere, about not just the fellow he was, but more the size of the fan club he left behind. I’m happy to be a member.

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