The Rev. Dr. William A. Smith, 94, of Meadville, passed away on Monday, June 10, 2013. He was born on July 5, 1918, in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of Ralph P. and Elva A. Smith.
He attended elementary and high school in Boardman, Ohio. His faith in Christ was nurtured in the Pleasant Grove United Presbyterian Church, where his father was a founding elder and his mother taught in the Sunday School. He chose Muskingum College, a United Presbyterian church-related school, where he had an outstanding career in intercollegiate debate and was elected president of the student body, graduating in 1940. He fell in love with Margaret Hanford as a freshman and married her in 1942 while he was attending Princeton Theological Seminary.
After graduation in 1943, he was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by the Presbytery of Morris & Orange in New Jersey and was called to serve the Rockaway, N.J., Presbyterian Church. His leadership with the youth of the Presbytery & Synod led to a call by the Board of Christian Education to serve as director for Young People’s Work for the Synod of N.J. He assisted local congregations with their youth programs and administered the summer camps and conference programs of the Synod. After four years of executive service, he longed for closer congregational contact and received a call in 1952 to serve at the Brookville Presbyterian Church (Pa.). In 1956, after the resignation of Dr. Glenn Crawford, Dr. Smith was called to Meadville, where he served until retiring in 1978.
Dr. Smith, an outspoken advocate of Christian involvement in community life, became a civic as well as a church leader. He served on the boards of Mental Health and Retardation, the Salvation Army, the YMCA, the Ministerial Association, the Council of Churches, the Community Welfare Council, and the Meadville Development Committee. He held numerous offices including campaign chairman and president of the United Way of Meadville and president of the Crawford Heritage Foundation. Always active in the work of the Presbytery, he was moderator, chairman of Ministerial Relations, president of Westminster Highlands Camp, chairman of Camps and Conferences, chairman of Christian Education, as well as the Synod chairman for Camps and Conferences and the Western Area Coordinating Council for Camps. Presbytery elected him to serve as commissioner at four General Assemblies. After retirement, he served at six churches including Oil City, Franklin and St. Marks as interim Pastor and a number of Sunday supplies. Muskingum College honored him with the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1962.
He is survived by five children, Marilyn (Graham) Johnstone of Pittsburgh, Beverly (Keith Dix) Lacey of Nellysford, Va., Elaine Smith Snyder of Wooster, Ohio, Ralph (Faye) Smith of Monroe, Va., and Katherine (John) Mayers of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; grandfather of Gregory Johnstone, Stephen (Jennifer Hwang) Johnstone, Erin (Nathan) Parker, Scott (Sarah) Lacey, Megan (Anthony) Tongen, Douglas Snyder, Karen Snyder, William Smith, Taylor Smith, Andrea (Bill) Heapes, Jacques (Jill) Campbell, Justin Mayers and Jessica Mayers; 12 great-grandchildren; also survived by his sister, Agnes Anderson of Muskegon, Mich.; and many nieces and nephews.
William is preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Margaret Hanford; and sister, Alice Pim.
A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held Saturday, July 20, at 1 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Meadville. Memorial gifts may be sent to the First Presbyterian Church of Meadville, 890 Liberty St., Meadville, Pa. 16335; or the United Way of Western Crawford County Inc., P.O. Box 554, Meadville, Pa. 16335. Arrangements entrusted to Orion C. Pinkerton Funeral Home Inc., 1014 California Ave, Avalon, 412-766-5600.