OBITUARY

Rev. Dr. William C Smith Jr

August 1, 1927May 13, 2013

GREENSBORO -- The Rev. Dr. William Cheney Smith Jr., of Greensboro, beloved pastor to hundreds for more than half a century, died peacefully at his home May 13, 2013, following a period of declining health. Dr. Smith, 85, a resident of Friends Home Guilford, was pastor emeritus of Greensboro's Congregational United Church of Christ, which he served as senior minister for nearly 10 years. His ministry spanned six decades and also included work in college chaplaincy, teaching and student leadership, as well as nearly a dozen interim pastorates following his retirement from Congregational UCC. Funeral will be held Friday, May 17, at 11 a.m. at Congregational UCC, 400 W. Radiance Drive, conducted by the Rev. Julie Peeples, senior minister. The family will greet friends in the church fellowship hall following the service. Private burial will be in Gretna, VA. Dr. Smith, a native of Rome, GA, was a Marine Corp veteran, having served in China near the end of World War II, and throughout his ministry he maintained a keen interest in local, national and world affairs. While serving as pastor of Durham's Pilgrim United Church of Christ (1970-80), he was elected to the Durham City Council. And wherever he lived, he was active in a myriad of civic affairs, such as United Way and Urban Ministry, blood drives and CROP Walks. When his ministry led him from the Baptist church to the United Church of Christ in 1970, Dr. Smith was quickly tapped for leadership roles in his new denominational home. In 1991 he as elected president of the UCC's Southern Conference, embracing UCC churches in North Carolina and Tidewater Virginia, and when the national UCC's General Synod met in Norfolk in 1991, he was chair of its local arrangements committee. On another occasion he served as a delegate to General Synod, and he was constantly called on for service on important boards and committees in both church and community settings. In1990 he received the North Carolina Council of Churches' Outstanding Service Award. Dr. Smith was born Aug. 1, 1927, the son of the late William Cheney and Azzie C. Smith. He attended Darlington School and Mercer University prior to Marine duty and then graduated from Washington & Lee University in 1949. He earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southern Seminary in Louisville in 1953, and, after serving as pastor of Glasgow (VA) Baptist Church, he returned to Louisville where he completed studies for his Doctorate of Theology degree. In 1958, following a pastorate at Hanover, IN, he joined the chaplaincy staff at Duke University. In 1961 he moved to Raleigh as executive secretary of the Baptist State Convention's student activities, working with college chaplains and students throughout North Carolina. His work with students took him in 1968 to the University of Richmond, where he served as chaplain and professor in the Department of Religion. Dr. Smith returned to the parish ministry in 1970 as senior minister at Pilgrim UCC in Durham. While there he continued his work with students, serving on the campus ministry boards of both Duke and North Carolina Central University. He accepted a call to Congregational UCC in Greensboro at the beginning of 1981 and served there until his retirement at the end of 1988. Churches he served as interim pastor include Binkley Baptist in Chapel Hill, St. John's UCC in Burlington, Monticello UCC in Browns Summit, Parkway UCC in Winston-Salem, First Reformed UCC in Burlington, Hebron UCC in Winston-Salem, Mt. Hope UCC in Greensboro, Amelia Christian Church in Clayton, First E&R Church UCC in Asheboro, Holy Covenant UCC in Charlotte, and Peoples Church UCC in Dover, Del. Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Winnie Fitzgerald Smith; son Gregory Fitzgerald Smith of New Bern; daughter Winnie Smith Leiendecker and husband Thomas M. of Gaithersburg, MD; grandchildren Katie, Emily and Sam Leiendecker, Lindsay Smith Sims and husband Gregory, and Winnie Renee Smith; sister Patricia Smith Talton of New Bern; brother-in-law Edmond B. Fitzgerald and wife Emily of Gretna, VA; sister-in-law Frances Sue Fitzgerald of Winston-Salem; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families. He was predeceased by his sister-in-law Trudy Fitzgerald Willmann. Memorials may be made to the Residents Assistance Fund at Friends Homes Guilford, 925 New Garden Road, Greensboro, NC 27410, the Capital Campaign at Congregational United Church of Christ, 400 W. Radiance Drive, Greensboro, NC 27403, or the organization or charity of one's choice. On line condolences may be made at www.haneslineberryfuneralhomes/com

Services

  • Funeral Service Friday, May 17, 2013
REMEMBERING

Rev. Dr. William C Smith Jr

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Sarah Anthony

June 3, 2013

Dear Winnie and family,

I just learned about Bill's homegoing. In my mind I can still hear him singing "I am bound for the promised land", "Lift High the Cross", and other great hymns of faith and promise.

He loved his dear Winnie and was so proud of his children and grandchildren. He was also proud to be an American, and worked hard to support the values of personal freedom for those who would follow in his footsteps.

It was my privilege to know and work with him at CUCC. He was a true pastor and shepherd who cared deeply for his flock. One almost always knew where Bill Smith was by his wonderful laugh. He could comfort the hurting soul and give hope to the depressed in his very individual way.

He was a man of great courage and vision who challenged all of us to be true and faithful to our Lord and Savior. I am honored to have known him.

Sarah Anthony

May 29, 2013

Dear Winnie, Greg and Winnie,

I am Alex Johnson's mother...Greg,.the Alex from Boy Scout days in Richmond. I have lived in a retirement home in Chapel Hill for 18 years(Carolina Meadows) and read the News and Observer. I called Alex in Columbus Ohio this morning and he joins me in sending concern for your loss.

When I first moved here there were 2 Greg Smith's living in Durham....called each of them....they said no they had never lived in Richmond.....so we gave up on reaching you Greg.

Alex is still in touch with Artie McGraw, William Rusher and others in that troup. In fact when Alex's father,Glenn, died 10 years ago yesterday they came to our service for him here in Chapel Hill. So our family..all of us... have empathy for all of you.

Winnie, I think one of the girls was your age. Catherine and Elizabeth are in Manhattan; Rebecca is in Delaware.

Know that our prayers will be with each of you in the family.....trust we will be in touch personally some day. We remember our friendship with your family so long ago.....Love as ever....Lucie Johnson

Richard Chorley

May 20, 2013

Dear Winnie and Family, When I was contemplating ministry and moving to NC, Bob McClernon suggested that I phone and talk with Bill Smith about Watts Street Baptist Church. I made that call and received a warm welcome in addition to assurances that Durham and Watts St would be a fine place to live and minister. Bill was correct! I extend my prayers that God's love and light surround and keep you as you mourn Bill's death. Blessings, Dick Chorley

May 19, 2013

Thoughts and prayers are with each family member as you grieve the death of your dear husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law and uncle. We trust your faith in God, good memories and the love and support of each other and friends will be sources of comfort in the days ahead. We remember fondly your days in Raleigh and were blessed by your friendship at First Baptist Church and particularly our SS class.
Max and Doris Baldwin

Elizabeth Edmonds

May 19, 2013

Dr. Smith was the dearest man, so kind, so sincere. I remember how appreciative he was of my music at the old Pleasant Ridge United Church of Christ and his beautiful voice singing out above everyone on the old hymns. I feel blessed to have known such a wonderful man.

May 18, 2013

Winnie and Family
What a joyful celebration it was yesterday! It brought back so many fond memories of Bill. He was a very unique individual and I am blessed that our paths crossed. I grew as a person and a Christian from his and your witness. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
With love
Janet

Jim and Joyce Stines

May 17, 2013

Dear Winnie and family, Joyce and I have surely felt a great sense of loss upon learning of Bill's passing. From the time of our days together at seminary in Louisville through our times with you in the student ministry in N.C. Bill inspired our admiration and appreciation. Of course, we have felt especially indebted to him for his role in our coming to the Baptist campus ministry at Duke and for the ensuing years of association. He was truly a splendid leader and brother in Christ. Our love, appreciation and prayers are with you and family.

Keith DeBord

May 16, 2013

Dear Winnie,
Merry and I are very heavy in emotions, thinking of you and Bill. We love you so very much; and we thank you for who you have been and for all you have done for our family. Bill was my Mentor Extraordinaire, a true gift from God that death cannot steal. May the love of God hold you as the people of God surround you.

Jean Hord

May 16, 2013

Dearest Winnie,

An awesome Shepherd has passed to his Father arms.

Bill's spirit lit so many of our souls with his love of God. He was a man of men with courage to reach for the pinnacle of not only leading but showing the way of God by living it.

We are so blessed to have had Bill as our minister at Holy Covenant. You both were an inspiration to all and will be in our hearts forever.

Our love to you and your family,
Jeanne, Ed & Tyler Hord

David Seymour

May 15, 2013

For decades Bill was a leaderin the Southern Conference of the UCC and in the communities where he lived. "Rest eternal grant him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him."