Family Funeral Care

4925 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN


Charles Brian Smallwood Jr.

August 1, 1947July 3, 2020
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Charles “Chuck” B. Smallwood, age 72 of Lakeland, Tennessee, passed to his heavenly home on Friday, July 3, 2020. Time stood still as Chuck’s peaceful passing was witnessed by his wife, their three children, and their spouses. His wife of 51 years, Kathlyn; son Christopher Allen Smallwood (Sarah) of Bolivar, Tennessee; daughter Kelli Kathleen Adams (Quincey) of Memphis, Tennessee; and daughter Kara Nicole Chesarek (Theodore) of Olive Branch, Mississippi, were honored to be with him as he was lifted into the arms of Jesus.

Chuck was born in Des Moines, Iowa, to Helen and Charlie Smallwood. He was preceded in death by his and Kathy’s Angel Baby, his loving parents, as well as sisters Linda and Jeanie and brothers Larry, Bruce, and Doug. He is survived by his brother, Kevin, of Richmond, Indiana; loving nieces and nephews; and Tom and Cheryl Orlowski of Lansing, Kansas, whom he loved deeply and considered a brother and sister.

Chuck was fiercely proud of and beloved by his grandchildren, William Robert Smallwood (a handsome and patriotic U.S. Marine stationed in Hawaii); Aaron Christopher Adams (an aspiring KU Jayhawk basketball player); Daxpitchee Ahpaaxaash “Bear Cloud” Chesarek (a brilliant young member of the Crow nation and future astronaut); and his only granddaughter, Bauer Kathleen Chesarek (whom he lovingly nicknamed his “beautiful Indian princess.”) Chuck also reveled in the fact that he was blessed with a fourth generational Smallwood distinction through the addition of his red-haired great grandson, Silas, the son of U.S. Marine William.

His walk with his Savior Jesus was the central focus of his life. His wife Kathlyn, Immaculata High School, lifelong friends, the KU Jayhawks, and John Wayne were the other great loves of Chuck’s life. Kathy and Chuck were childhood sweethearts, Chuck often telling people they “got married at recess.” They began going steady on September 3, 1963. Chuck and the Duke, however, had been going steady since 1957. So when it came to asking Kathy for her hand in marriage and starting a family, Chuck channeled his hero the Duke who famously said, “Courage is being scared to death . . . and saddling up anyway.”

Serving in the U.S. Navy from 1966 to 1970 not only gave Chuck a chance to serve his country, but also helped to convince Kathy to agree to become his wife. He quickly learned that his suave dancing skills, stellar sense of humor, outstanding charisma, and dashing appearance in uniform were hard to resist. After two years of service and a bevy of love letters adorned with Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo cut from Cracker Jack boxes, Chuck and Kathy made it official. And at least as far as Chris, Kelli, and Kara are concerned, it was a very good thing indeed!

After his stint in the Navy and graduating from his alma mater KU in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, Chuck began working for the Bureau of Prisons, retiring as an Education Administrator in 1997. During his and Kathy’s Bureau of Prisons careers that spanned more than 23 and 40 years respectively, the family lived in Lompoc, California, and Washington, D.C., and everywhere in between – often picking up stray cats along the way. In fact, rumor has it there was a small herd of approximately 47 cats, 3 dogs, and one bewildered parakeet who welcomed Chuck as he made his transition to eternity.

Chuck treasured many friendships that spanned 60+ years with schoolmates, including Mike Robinson, Mike Connelly, Laird Simons, H.J. Willcott, Jack O’Connor, and Tom Brown. Some of his fondest memories are centered on his relationships with these reformed delinquents (many thanks to their wives!) and former altar boys. All incriminating evidence was a closely guarded secret and taken to Heaven by Chuck, who between those shenanigans and the ruckus created by the cat herd, will most likely have a lot of explaining to do!

All who loved Chuck couldn’t help but know of his affinity for the University of Kansas Jayhawks and their top-notch basketball team. There is little doubt that the banners greeting Chuck at the Pearly Gates were crimson and blue or shortly were after his arrival. If there’s an available surface, Chuck will certainly have affixed a Jayhawk decal or pennant.

Chuck was a stubborn fighter and the combination of this willfulness (NO ONE tells a Jayhawk what to do) and his love for his family allowed him to exceed the expectation of life projected by his medical team. Chuck was blessed with many miracles and he was a testament to the awesome power of prayer, especially considering his significant health challenges. Just like the cats he loved, Chuck also must have had nine lives.

This year’s Chiefs’ Super Bowl win and the default win by the Jayhawks in the NCAA Championship (who obviously would have gone on to triumph) along with increased quality of life challenges, created the perfect timing for Chuck’s exodus from his earthly home. What more could possibly follow in his earthly life after such a trifecta? The only goal left to attain was Chuck’s heavenly crown and eternal life with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is holding him in His loving arms, the perfect place for Chuck considering that if Jesus had played basketball, he would have played for KU.

A celebration of life for Chuck will be live streamed by Immanuel Lutheran Church on August 1, 2020 at 10 a.m. at www.ilcmemphis.org. He will be laid to rest in Leavenworth, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his memory be made to the Immanuel Lutheran School Tuition Fund.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.FamilyFuneralMemphis.com for the Smallwood family.


  • Immanuel Lutheran School Tuition Fund


  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, August 1, 2020



Charles Brian Smallwood Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Joanne M. Clausier

August 1, 2020

Chuck, the Husband of my Dear Friend Kathy, you were such FUN to be around, such a witness of your faith, and a life well lived for your family and friends. Thank you for your Service to our Country and your blessing to all who knew you. I will miss you -- but "will see you on the other side" -- smile! Rest in your Savior's arms now, the battle has been won -- Joanne Clausier

5:00 PM -- Saturday, August 1, 2020 -- I'm watching Chuck's Memorial "Celebration of Life" online for a SECOND time as Carol Carr and I needed to leave the "Live-Virtual-Service" on Saturday morning, August 1, 2020, at 10:00 AM, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Memphis, TN, to pick up the B-B-Q for the Smallwood Bereavement Luncheon from the WOWs Bible Class in the middle of Pastor Greg's Sermon. Kara Chesarek -- such a beautiful and loving "tribute" to your Dad -- you AMAZE me! Lori Keirsey Mell -- your solo's were OUTSTANDING -- I STILL have "goosebumps" -- WONDERFUL song choices, Kathlyn Orlowski Smallwood and Scripture as well. Thanks to the Hosanna Praise Band volunteers. I LOVED the Military table in front of the Altar. JUST a beautiful "Celebration of Life" all together -- Chuck would APPROVE -- smile! Now to hear Pastor Greg Prauner's Sermon ("Preacher-Man," as Chuck called him) -- smile! What personal and comforting words -- weaving Chuck in and out through his Sermon -- and ending with Chuck's testimony and joy of a humble heart knowing what he could NOT accomplish for himself, in his "want-to-take-charge- nature," he fully trusted in His Savior Jesus Christ to accomplish for him through His death and resurrection. And, thank you Ryan Pudwell for the "Virtual" technology.

Michelle Wadle

August 1, 2020

Sending sympathy from Michelle Wadle, daughter of Matthias Wadle! Remember the good times! Unfortunately I never knew my 1st cousin Chuck well because we all come from a very large extended family. May we all be together in the next life.

Laird Simons

July 31, 2020

Chuck - thanks for 60 + years of cherished friendship! From Old Cathedral Grade School to Immaculata High School and beyond you have always entertained everyone with your unbelievable sense of humor, wit and uncanny ability to recall names and events . We always thought you were a perfect replacement for Johnny Carson! I will miss you! And so will your many friends!

Kathy - our prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. If we can help with anything don't hesitate to ask. Laird and Patti Simons

Donald Heim

July 28, 2020

Condolences to Chuck's family.
I haven't kept with Chuck since graduation from I-MAC. For good or bad, some people you can't forget. Chuck was one of those. I thought about Chuck when I sent a card to Marcia Robinson on the death of her father. For some reason I remembered Chuck and Mike and several others in our class were a year older and they went into service for the US Military. Strange what makes you think of someone. I mentioned Chuck to Gerrianne and she remembered seeing Chuck in Walmart a few years back. I reminded her that it was more than a few years, we've lived in Sabetha for 20 years. Don and Gerrianne Heim Sabetha KS

Debbie Moulden

July 22, 2020

I was so sorry to see Chuck has passed away. Thinking of you and sending prayers for the family.

Warren Zimmer

July 20, 2020

Chuck was one of a kind, you knew that when u meet and interact with him. Someone u can never forget, for better or worse, a True character. His wit and sarcasm will be missed!

Eunice (Wadle) DeLong

July 19, 2020

Since I’m the oldest cousin of our clan Chuck was much younger so we unfortunately never got well acquainted. But Moe Wadle my brother just informed me of your loss! And I pray the good memories will keep you going on!!! Love Eunice (wadle) DeLong

Yolonda Lumpkin Cousin

July 17, 2020

Prayers for the Smallwood family friends. May he rest in peace.

Judy and Bill Fuelling

July 15, 2020

We will always remember how much Chuck loved all the cats/kittens! We Also will remember his great smile, love for his family and for the Kansas City Jayhawks. He was a devout man of faith and he is home with his Savior. Bill and judy Fuelling


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