Cover photo for Slade Smathers's Obituary
Slade Smathers Profile Photo
1972 Slade 2023

Slade Smathers

January 28, 1972 — March 5, 2023

Maggie Valley

Slade Aaron Smathers, 51, passed away on Sunday, March 5th at his residence in Maggie Valley.

A Haywood County native, Slade was the beloved son of Ronnie and DeAnna Rary Smathers of Waynesville and the much-adored father of Syler McClain Smathers.

Slade graduated from Tuscola High School with the class of 1990. Growing up, he was a member of Hazelwood Presbyterian Church. He played saxophone in the marching band throughout high school and college.  Upon graduation, he attended Appalachian State University before earning a degree in Environmental Health Science from Western Carolina University. Slade then went on to serve as health inspector for many counties in Western North Carolina for over 25 years.

Slade loved the land he was born to and took every opportunity to enjoy what our mountains and rivers offered.  In his younger days, he competed in open boat (canoe, not kayak) competitions including the North American Whitewater Slalom Nationals where he earned many medals and the admiration and respect of a very large whitewater paddling community with whom he remained close for his entire life.

In later years, Slade cherished spending time with his son, taking every opportunity to give Syler the experiences our mountains and rivers had given and been to him. Together they paddled many rivers, including the Nolichucky, Nantahala, and Pigeon. Come winter, one could almost always find them skiing the Cataloochee slopes (skis, not snowboard.)

In addition to his parents Ron and DeAnna, and his son Syler, he is survived by his sister Sesalie Smathers, and her husband, Kyle Israel, of Asheville, his niece Lia Sprouse of Durham, his nephew Brodie Sprouse of Asheville, Syler’s mother, Nikki Smathers, Uncle Bruce Rary of Hazelwood, and Uncle Jack Rary of Jonesborough, TN, and many cousins.  Impossible to name here are so many of his dear friends who know who they are and now cherish his memory.

“Steel rails, chasing sunshine round the bend
Winding through the trees, like a ribbon in the wind
I don’t mind not knowing what lies down the track
Cause I’m looking out ahead, to keep my mind from turning back”

- Allison Krauss-”Steel Rails”

"See ya, now."

A celebration of his life will be held at 5:00 pm, Saturday, March 25, 2023, at BearWaters Brewery in Canton.  The family will received friends from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at Wells Funeral Home in Waynesville.  Please go to Slade's Facebook page for more details.

The care of Mr. Smathers has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Slade Smathers, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, March 25, 2023

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Wells Funeral Home - Waynesville

296 N Main St, Waynesville, NC 28786

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Starts at 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 260

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree