George William Smith Jr. of Ocala, FL died February 11, 2021 at the age of 90. He was born on September 5, 1930 to parents George and Lillie (nee Crane) in Philadelphia, PA. Growing up in Philadelphia he enjoyed Boy Scouts and finished one swim badge shy of Eagle Scout. George graduated from John Bartram High School in 1949 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Psychology from Temple University in 1953, which he attended after winning the city-wide scholarship competition, awarded annually to one private and one public school student in the City of Philadelphia. Stateside for active duty during the Korean War, PFC Smith helped US Army units prep for deployment. While stationed in Columbus, OH during the war he met and fell in love with Martha Manker while both were singing in the Broad Street Presbyterian Church choir. He had planned to attend Cornell University for a post-graduate doctoral program in psychology when he felt called to the ministry, graduating instead from Westminster Seminary in 1959 with a Masters of Divinity. Soon after graduation, George was called to serve as the Assistant Pastor at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Willow Grove, PA. He served as Senior Pastor at Manchester Presbyterian Church in Manchester, CT from 1965 to 1974. While there he co-founded Coventry House, which served as a retreat for at-risk young people before returning to Willow Grove, PA to become the Senior Pastor at Calvary Church.
He first retired from the pulpit in 1996 and moved to his beloved Strathmere, NJ and the Jersey Shore. He was a chaplain and volunteer for the Strathmere Volunteer Fire Department for many years. He pastored two churches in New Jersey including Covenant Presbyterian Church near Cape May during retirement before moving to Ocala, FL in 2014 for an actual retirement.
George will be greatly missed by his family and friends, and the thousands of people in his congregations impacted by his Bible studies, astute and learned sermons, mastery of the Biblical languages, trips to the Holy Lands and his very personal ministry. His children remember him for their annual weeks-long camping trips during which the whole family lived in a tent at Lake Winnipesaukee NH, and his love of fishing and boating. Friends, family and congregants recall his ability to fix anything and especially his fantastic carpentry skills. Willow Grove police officers enjoyed a Bible study with George for many years, as did the COPD study group, among the many who learned the Bible sitting with George and oftentimes his wife, Marty.
George is survived by his wife of 65 years, Martha Manker Smith, sons Glenn Smith of Horsham, PA and Jeffrey Smith of Santa Barbara, CA, daughter Jacquelyn Smith of Portland, OR, daughters-in-law Marsha Taylor, wife to Jacque, and Errin Cecil-Smith, wife to Jeffrey, grandchildren Samantha, Alexander and Lily Smith and Megan Ashley and Ryan Taylor, and great-grandsons Lennox and Leo.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Robert James Smith (wife, Marjorie Mae) and his sister Elizabeth Crane Collins (husband, Allen Edward Collins).
A military burial will be held at Bushnell National Cemetery on March 8 with the family in attendance, and the family hopes to host a larger memorial service when Covid restrictions and common-sense permit. A memorial service is being held at Calvary Presbyterian Church on Saturday, March 27, at 10:30 AM. It will be live-streamed on calvary-wg.org YouTube channel.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Strathmere Volunteer Fire Company. https://strathmerefire.org/contact/