|Friendships are casual and fleeting in these times. However, something happened on a country road in Livingston Parish in July of 1952 that would become an exception to the rule. There was a death in the congregation and the family requested a former minister be called back for the funeral service. And so it was, on that country road outside of this residence, that three people were to meet and a life-long friendship developed.
Over the years, Ted Smith and I became the brother neither had and our wives were like sisters. The four of us enjoyed many experiences together. We shared a suite at Conference, visited and played dominoes together. We could anticipate the other’s thoughts. I feel like the Scripture writer who said, “time will not permit me to tell of,” as I recall the experiences of our friendship.
Ted Smith was a unique individual in many ways. He enjoyed and was fascinated by life. He enjoyed a challenge and possessed an inquisitive mind. He loved to play golf, loved home-made ice cream, Mountain Dew soft drink and popcorn. He loved the Lord and he loved people.
In statistics, Ted Smith was born in June 1916 and married Billie Carpenter in 1940. He served in the European Theater during World War II. Upon returning home after the war, he went to work as a welder and became the father of one son, Barry. Few fathers and sons enjoyed each other more than these two. Ted became active in the Blackwater Church and Boy Scouts. It was at this time that he received his Eagle Scout pin.
But welding was not Ted Smith’s calling. At thirty-six years of age and the father of a four-year-old son, he felt an irresistible call to the ministry while working in his welding shop. He became the pastor of the Livingston-James Chapel Charge and then the Pine Grove Charge while completing his undergraduate studies at Southeastern. From there he went on to Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University to complete his education.
Several events became a part of his ministry. His love for children was important. The construction of the Bethel Church was always a matter of pride, and he will be remembered for his work with the Men’s Club at Angola State Penitentiary. Many who passed through that organization live better lives because of his ministry through that work, Ted’s ministry was almost cut short because of a boating accident in the early 1950s. But after a year’s absence, he rebounded and continued until retirement. Each pastorate was special and as we visited, he would share his concerns for the congregations. Fellow ministers were a joy to Ted. He credited Reverend J. W. Lee and Dr. W. E. Trice as having a special influence upon his life. He also appreciated his final pastor, Reverend Larry Stafford, at Blackwater United Methodist Church.
As he lived, so did he finish his course by giving his body to science to continue serving others. We will miss Ted because we were so close. Yet as I mentioned at the memorial services, we are here not paying our last respects to Ted Smith because he lives on in the influence upon the lives of others, in the joys and tears we have shared together, and he lives on in that “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1990; p. 231………….By Calvin 0. Lapuyade|