Created on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
With a thankful heart, Thomas E. Smith moved on to his eternal home with Jesus at 1:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at Grace Care Center, Lake Wales, Fla.
Bro. Tom or Mr. Tom as others know him, was born Jan. 23, 1934, the second of three sons born to the late Joe and Dorothy Smith, who are welcoming him to his new home with cookies and popcorn balls. Tom’s brothers, Robert N. (Marilyn) Smith and Dr. Douglas H. (Bernadine) Smith, survive, along with nieces and nephews.
Tom graduated from Anderson University (1952-57) and met his bride, whom he affectionately would call “Norm.” Tom and Norma were married June 12, 1954. She survives him at their home, 202 Genesis Pt. Drive, Lake Wales, FL 33859, diligently reporting for duty to tell others about the love of Jesus.
Bro. Tom was a pastor and missionary for more than 60 years. He began his ministry as a youth pastor in Bellefontaine. It was here when they had the first of three children, who all survive. Kristy and her husband Mark Hemmele and their sons, Matthew and Derrell Hemmele. As a senior pastor in Billings, Mont., their second child was born. Kim and her husband, Dr. Scott Livingston and their three children, Zachary (Katie Rider) Livingston, Gretchen Livingston (Charlie) Holcomb and Greg Livingston.
A call came from the boot heel of southeastern Missouri and Bro. Tom accepted the pastorate at the First Church of God in Portageville, Mo., for six years. While in Portageville in 1970, their third child, Randy (Nancy Moores) Smith, was born.
The Bellefontaine First Church of God asked Bro. Tom to return to their church as senior pastor. He and his family lived and served there for 13 years, before taking the family to Peoria, Ill., where he pastored for 13 years.
In May 1996, Bro. Tom and Norma accepted the call to be short term missionaries with the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders, landed in Cairo, Egypt, in September of the same year. It was during this time God opened the door for them to begin African Hope Learning Center, which is now expanded to the Sudan and called African Hope Inc., by providing Christian education to thousands.
While serving at Cairo Christian Fellowship, Mr. Tom offered the opportunity to disciple anyone interested. This led to a mentorship of many African men, including Peter Nevi from Sierra Leone. Peter and his wife Nancy Nevi and their entire family have now become part of the entire Smith family.
Tom was a jogger and would often be seen jogging through the neighborhood where was currently living. He now has streets of gold to jog on. He LOVED sports. Some of his favorite teams included Ohio State, Cubs and Chicago Bears. More than sports, he loved life and people and whenever he was asked how he was, his response was always, “I’m thankful.”
Total body donation and cremation services were conducted by MedCure.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to African Hope Inc. and H.E.A.R.T. at 202 Genesis Pt. Drive, Lake Wales, FL 33859.
A celebration of life service is at 11 a.m. Saturday at South Lake Wales Church of God, Lake Wales, with the Rev. John M. Henry officiating.