Obituary: Carlton Smith Feb. 1975 – Aug. 6, 2023

CARLTON SMITH Feb. 1975 – Aug. 6, 2023

Carlton Smith (aka Messy Mervin), a talented and passionate chef, has left us after a courageous battle with a lifelong struggle with substance and alcohol abuse. He passed away Aug. 6, 2023 at the young age of 48. 

Born Feb. 22, 1975 in Chicago, Illinois, Carlton was a gifted individual who found his true calling in the culinary arts. His creativity and dedication shined in every dish he crafted, bringing joy and delight to countless palates. He started his culinary journey through his father Floyde’s passion of cooking and catering. He quickly rose to prominence, earning recognition for his innovative approach to flavors and presentation in numerous Tucson Magazines.

Beyond his culinary prowess, Carlton cherished his role as a parent and his relationships with those close to him. He was a loving father to Caylene, Kobe, Kerry, Tahjma, and Trinity, and his devotion to their well-being was evident in every moment they shared. Carlton’s warmth and generosity extended to his friends and family, leaving a lasting impact on all who knew him.

Despite the challenges he faced, Carlton’s strength and resilience were a testament to his spirit. He demonstrated his determination to overcome his struggles and fought tirelessly to find peace and healing. Carlton has had so many people from the community step in and show their love by way of affording employment, opening their home to care for him, assisting in cleaning his spaces, and walking through his struggles. Though his journey was not without obstacles, his memory will be a reminder of the importance of compassion and understanding for those facing similar battles.

Carlton is preceded in death by his father, Rev. Floyde Smith Jr, eldest daughter, Caylene Smith, and middle daughter Tahjma Smith, along with numerous of loved ones.

Carlton is survived by his children, Trinity Smith, Kobe Luster, and Kerry Atkinson. Carlton is also survived by his mother, Loretta Smith, sister Carla Tafoya (Eddie), nephew Dominique Sugar (Anna and great nephew Kobe), nephew DeJahn Tafoya, and niece DeJa Tafoya, as well as wide circle of family and friends who will forever cherish his memory. His legacy lives on through the culinary delights he created, and the love he shared with those fortunate enough to have known him.

A memorial service will be held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sept. 16, 2023 at Fuller Lodge Art Center in Los Alamos, NM, where friends and family can gather to celebrate Carlton’s life and remember the moments that made him special to us all.

The family kindly requests that donations be made in Carlton’s memory to Santa Fe Recovery Center, Sombrillo Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, and/or Alcoholics Anonymous, dedicated to helping individuals who are fighting similar challenges.

Please visit to leave messages, stories, and pictures of Carlton’s life to create a tribute for his family.

Rest in peace, Carlton- you are finally free of pain! Your creativity, love, and spirit will forever be missed and remembered by those whose lives you touched.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever Amen. –Psalms 23

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