Candace S Smith (March 30, 1963 - June 17, 2024)

In loving memory of
Candace S Smith
  • March 30, 1963
  • -
  • June 17, 2024

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Candace S. Smith (Comerford) PhD,RN,NEA-BC

Smith, Candace S. (nee Comerford) March 30, 1963 –

June 17,2024, of Punta Gorda, Florida, after a long battle

with Cancer. Loving wife and Best Friend of 32 years to

Bill Smith; dearest mother of Katelyn Forcucci of

Davenport, Florida; Kristin Kopp (Greg) of Sykesville,

Maryland; Will Smith of Hurst, Texas; Tracy Robert (Philip)

of Frisco, Texas. Beloved Gigi to Cecelia Kopp; Natalie

Kopp; Charlie Kopp; and Loved Nani to Tristin Spino and

Ryan Zalmanoff, Loving daughter of the late Thomas R.

and Maureen J. Comerford and sister of Thomas

Comerford (Jim) and Jane Ervolino (Dave). Sister-in-law to

Cherri Gattshall and Barbara Mittleman. Also survived by nephew Justin Kiernan

and great niece Alyssa Kiernan. ln Lieu of flowers

memorial donations may be made to Lee Memorial

Hospital Nurse Education Foundation of Ft. Myers,


Candace S. Smith-31301l963- 6/L7 12024


Hospital Administrator

Candace most recently was the Vice

President of Operations & Chief Nurse

Executive at Cape Coral Hospital for Lee

Health System. She, along with her team,

guided the Hospital through the Pandemic

as well as Hurricane lan.

Born in Bradenton, Florida, at a young age

She moved with her family to Buffalo, N.Y.

She graduated from St. Martins and Mt.

Mercy Academy in South Buffalo and

started her 30 plus year nursing career at

Buffalo General Hospital after graduating

from D’Youville College in Buffalo.

Candace moved on to various leadership

positions at Unity Health System, 0 450 bed

Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., culminating

with her appointment as the Chief Nursing


During these years at Unity, Candace

received her master’s degree in public

Administration from the University of

Brockport, N.Y. Candace was appointed to

an adjunct position at SUNY Brockport, as


Prior to moving to South Florida, Candace

was named Vice president and Chief

Nursing Officer for Medline Industries, a

Medical Supply Company based out of

Illinois. She then took the same position

with Voalte, a Medical Communications

Company in Sarasota, Florida.

When the Chief Nursing Officer position

opened at Manatee Memorial Hospital

in Bradenton, Florida, she was excited to

become the C.N.O of Manatee Memorial

Hospital, the place where she was born.

While at Manatee, Candace completed her

PhD in Education with a specialization in

OrganizationaI Leadership.

While there, she helped lead the evacuation

of the entire hospital during Hurricane lrma.

Dr. Candace is the author of ‘Chapter

Leader’s Guide to Provision of Care:

Practical lnsight on Joint Commission

Standards,” a guidebook by Healthcare

Professional Organization. She holds a

board certification in Advanced Nursing

Executive from the American Nurses

Credentialing Center.

Candace is a nationally known speaker on

topics of clinical excellence, speak up, and

exemplary leadership. She served on the

boards of the Southeastern Florida-American

College of Health Care Executives, Florida

organization of Nurse Leaders, and Chaired

the State Chief Nursing Officer Council as

well as the Florida Nursing Consortium.

Candace was an adjunct Professor at Nova

Southeastern University, where she taught

Quality Management and Transforming

Care in Complex Health Systems, she has

also published a textbook, Healthcare

Quality Management: A Case Study

Approach with two other colleagues.

Candace loved dancing and has always

been a lover of music, her favorite saying

was: ‘This is my favorite song”. Every song

was her favorite.

A Mass at St. Therese Roman Catholic Church in North

Fort Myers, Florida along with a Celebration of Life, will

be celebrated in July at a time to be determined.

Tribute Wall

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  1. Lynnore Feinberg, AKA Lynn Munson lit a candle:
    30 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 30, 2024 at 6:30:21 PM

  2. Traci Corby says:
    29 Jun 2024
    To Bill & all who loved Candace,

    Candace has been an inspiration to our nursing community and health system. She practiced what she preached... kindness and compassion, innovation and excellence. She was an extraordinary leader and a remarkable human being. Candace was dearly loved and admired, with her steadfast optimism and persistence - an inspiration to so many, and especially to me.

    Your loving legacy lives on as we continue to let your light shine from within us, paying it forward. MAKE it a great day... this one's for you, sweet C. You'll always have a special place in my heart, filled with the cherished memories of the positive energy mojos we shared. I can see your gorgeous & genuine smile, and feel your warmth radiating down from above... always an angel, now amongst them in our Heavenly Home. I'll be missing you until we meet again. Thank you for the life lessons and for living by example, a true and beautiful disciple here on earth. Peace be with you, now and forever.
    Love & Hugs,

  3. Traci Corby posted an image:
    29 Jun 2024
    Sweet Candace & Traci… eternal optimists!
    Sweet Candace & Traci… eternal optimists!

  4. Thomas Danielson says:
    26 Jun 2024

    Cheryl and I offer our deepest sympathy to you and your family with the passing of your wife Candace. Reading her life story, she accomplished much as a professional, mother, and spouse. I know she will be missed dearly and know you are in our thoughts.

    Tom & Cheryl Danielson

  5. Joe Burton says:
    26 Jun 2024
    I am sorry for your loss your wife was a wonderful person.
    You and she will be in my prayers.
    Joe Burton

  6. Thera Paulk lit a candle:
    24 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 24, 2024 at 6:27:25 PM

  7. Mike Flowers BPD says:
    22 Jun 2024
    Bill, so sorry for your loss. Prayers to your entire family.

  8. Marilyn and Patrick Morrisey says:
    22 Jun 2024
    Bill and Family,
    We can’t express enough of how much Candace meant to us! She reached out to everyone she knew! What an amazing woman!
    She will be missed by so many people! There are not enough people like her in this world!❤️ I00% class all the way!

  9. Bob and Sara Hibbard says:
    21 Jun 2024
    Bill, So sorry to hear about Candace. Will keep you and family in our prayers.

  10. Bob and Sara Hibbard says:
    21 Jun 2024
    Bill, Sorry to hear about Candace. You and family will be in our prayers.

  11. Amy Drake says:
    21 Jun 2024
    Heaven has gained an angel! Candace brought so much love, joy, and passion into our lives. Her loving spirit will forever be cherish in our hearts. It was an absolute honor to have worked with her at Lee Health.

  12. Barbara Christine Smith says:
    20 Jun 2024
    Candace was always full of joy...loved my brother deeply and truly her light shined on kids have beautiful family memories..heaven now holds your light..but you make each of us better for spreading your bliss..Rest are done with earthly pain.

  13. JENNIFER PETERSON lit a candle:
    20 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 20, 2024 at 6:22:32 PM

  14. Tori Gadison says:
    20 Jun 2024
    So sad to hear this, I had the privilege of working with Candace as her assistant at Manatee Memorial. She taught me so much and I'm so grateful to her. She is an inspiration to me and many others. Rest in Heaven, Candace.

  15. Paul Batt lit a candle:
    20 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 20, 2024 at 6:06:59 AM

  16. Tracy Robert posted an image:
    19 Jun 2024
    Thank you for loving Tristan and Ryan 2019 in texas
    Thank you for loving Tristan and Ryan 2019 in texas

  17. Tracy Robert lit a candle:
    19 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 19, 2024 at 6:27:51 PM

  18. Tracy Robert says:
    19 Jun 2024
    Love you Candycane❤️Our lives were brighter bc of you! Thank you for loving my father and being so good to Tristan and Ryan! They loved you Big!
    Rest well… I’ll b seeing you

  19. Skyler G lit a candle:
    19 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 19, 2024 at 6:05:40 PM

  20. Mary Briggs says:
    19 Jun 2024
    I am a better person for having known Candace.

  21. Dawn K. lit a candle:
    19 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 19, 2024 at 6:42:32 PM

  22. Evelyn Velazquez says:
    19 Jun 2024
    Candace was the most loving person. She was my friend. She was also the best nurse and leader. Thank you for changing my life and being my cheerleader. Heaven gain a very special angel.
    My deepest sympathy to Bill and family.

  23. JOSIE lit a candle:
    19 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 19, 2024 at 6:22:40 PM

  24. wilson bradley says:
    19 Jun 2024
    thank you very much for being a great person thank you so much caring person thank you so much for all ways knowing everyone name there will never be another person like you praying for you and your family .

  25. Lorelei DeLaCruz says:
    19 Jun 2024
    Candace will be so missed! Her spirit was infectious! She was an incredible, mentor, nurse, person, just amazing human being. I can’t believe this happened, gone to soon, heaven definitely gained an angel. My thoughts and prayers go out to Bill and the family.

  26. TAMI lit a candle:
    19 Jun 2024
    Lit since June 19, 2024 at 6:52:13 AM

  27. Dawn Terry says:
    19 Jun 2024
    My deepest sympathies to all of Candace's family and friends.
    Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us everyday.
    Unseen, unheard by always near, still loved, still missed and so very dear.
    RIP Candace.

  28. Dr Hansill says:
    19 Jun 2024
    Saint Peter and Jesus will have a much easier time running the show with Candace at the helm

  29. Ellen McNamara says:
    18 Jun 2024
    Candace my dear cousin always smiling and full of humor!! May the road rise to meet you and the I know God is holding you in the Palm of his hand. Peace to your family and friends.

  30. Barry Severs says:
    18 Jun 2024
    I had the pleasure of knowing Candice during her time at Manatee Memorial. She was a great leader, a kind and compassionate person. I consider it a real pleasure to have known her and she will live on in my heart. Our prayers to her family and friends....

  31. Rebecca Huff posted an image:
    18 Jun 2024
    Candace & Rebecca
    Candace & Rebecca

  32. William smith says:
    18 Jun 2024
    Candace Smith full of life, joy and positivity. A beautiful soul with much love in her heart. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord

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