Who: When 37-year-old Celeste J. Smith died after a long illness on May 3, she left behind a 10-year-old son with special needs, Connor D. Vancosky. A graduate of Pittston Area High School, she attended Empire Beauty School and was an organ donor.
Her father, Old Forge resident David L. Smith, has taken over as Connor’s caretaker and legal guardian, but times are tough for the pair. Celeste Smith was unable to get life insurance, and while her father got some financial help for her funeral expenses, “the remaining balance is still very difficult to come up with.”
Additionally, Connor requires constant attention, and David Smith has been home-schooling him.
“Connor and I are dealing with Celeste’s death as best we can,” David Smith explained. “The two of us will get through his home schooling and his other daily activities.”
Why: Donations will go toward Celeste Smith’s burial in addition to helping with Connor’s needs and moving costs. David Smith can no longer work and receives supplemental Social Security payments, but without his daughter’s income, he and his grandson can no longer afford to live at their current address. Financial support from the community will help cover their rent payments until Smith can find new living arrangements.
If possible, Smith also will put any money raised toward buying a safe vehicle since he said his car “needs major work that we cannot afford to fix.”
“Help with the transportation situation would mean a safe, reliable way for (me) to provide a way to go to appointments and to pick up food and clothing,” he said.
How: The public can donate through a GoFundMe page, “Please help pay for Celeste J Smith’s Funeral Exp,” or by mailing contributions to Smith at 1203 Bennett St., Old Forge, PA 18518.
In his own words: “Any support received means being able to provide suitable living arrangements for my grandson during this stressful time.” — David L. Smith
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest