By Krista Pfunder
Carlester Smith—known affectionately as The Walking Man, Buckwheat or The West Street Walker—has died.
A mainstay on the streets of Annapolis for decades, Smith spent his days picking up trash and greeting all he encountered with a smile. Age and health conditions sidelined Smith more than a year ago, but Annapolitans found a way to honor and help him.
A fundraiser was launched to purchase items Smith needed and a mural featuring his likeness was created on the outside of Pinkey’s Liquors on West Street, as CBM Bay Weekly reported in our June 25, 2020 cover story.
The news of his death was quickly shared via social media after his niece, Marlena Hardy posted that Smith had died peacefully the evening of March 1.
“To the Annapolis community, thank you for loving him as your own son,” Hardy wrote. “We never really had to worry about him much, not with so many incredible guardian angels. What an amazing place to be from.”
The family says that arrangements are being made and that they will be shared once available.
“When a man can selflessly give, without a personal agenda, without compensation, without fear,” says Lon Powell of Annapolis. “He, at that point, can make a difference in his community.”