IN MEMORIAM: Elton O. Smith, Jr. ‘56

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The Reverend Elton O. Smith, Jr., Class of 1956, died peacefully on November 17, 2018. Smith was the Dean of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo for 26 years from 1968 until 1994. Upon his retirement as Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, he served as Canon Vicar and other executive positions at the Washington National Cathedral from 1994 until 2003. He later served in interim and assistant rector roles in parishes in the Washington DC area until his final retirement at the age of 81.


In addition to serving as Dean of St. Paul's he also served as Dean of Episcopal parishes in the central city; as the president of St. Augustine's Center; as a founder and president of Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries; as vice-president of the Downtown Mall Management Corporation; as three-term president of Child and Family Services; as a director of the United Way; and trustee of several other community organizations. Upon his retirement from St. Paul’s he received a special citation for community service from the New York State Assembly and an honorary doctorate from Medaille College. During these years he also served the national Episcopal Church in a number of leadership capacities.

Born in Springfield, Missouri on June 13, 1929, Smith was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1956, and prior to his tenure in Buffalo, served in two parishes in the Kansas City area. He received his M.Div. from General in 1956, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1981. He received a B.A. cum laude degree from Drury University in 1950, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from there in 2000. In addition to the honorary doctorate from Medaille College, he received an honorary LLD from D'Youville College.

He served as a battalion sergeant major with the Second Infantry Division in Korea during 1952, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

He was married in 1953 to the former Jill Stoll, also of Springfield, Missouri, and was divorced in 2001. He is survived by three children: David (Alison); Philip; and Alison A. Switzer, ten grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by his son Mark.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, December 6th at 10 AM at the Bethlehem Chapel in the Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC.