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Norman Smith - Year Entered 1950

Norman Smith

From Doris Cole on April 26, 2021


I had planned to post a few things today that were more entertaining and uplifting but now I must make a very sad announcement. I just had a call from CHARLENE SMITH to tell me that NORMAN SMITH died early this morning. He had been in a coma for several days and had not eaten since last Tuesday, April 20th. This is very sobering news to us as NORMAN was WAYNE'S roommate and CHARLENE was my roommate at AC and we have re-connected in recent years. I spoke with her for about 30 minutes yesterday as I knew she would be having a very difficult time. I am very pleased that ESTHER COLE GLOVER is near by and assisting them at the Funeral Home. The family is not planning a funeral service but I will give their mailing address for anyone who wishes to mail a card to them.  Their son KEVIN  has been with them for several years and has done a fabulous job in caring-giving. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  Doris


Charlene Smith

81914 Davisson Rd. 

 Creswell, OR  97426-9391

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04/28/21 03:52 PM #1    

Cledice Decker (1959)

Courtesy of Van Baker

Found this nice write-up on Mr. Smith on the GCI website


Norman Smith was born on the family farm near Burnt Prairie, in Southern Illinois on February 18, 1930. He lived there until at age 20 he left to attend Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA. Norman’s wife, Charlene also enrolled in Ambassador in 1950. They began dating in their sophomore year and married in their senior year. Their daughter, Deborah, was born in 1954, their first son, Kevan in 1956, and son Kyle in 1960. The Smiths have two grandchildren.

Norman was baptized in 1950, and served the church in various capacities ever since. He began working in the church’s recording studio in 1951, which soon turned into a full time job that continued during his last two years of college. He was made director of the broadcasting studio in 1952, and after graduation in 1954, became manager of the church’s radio and television production facilities. He was ordained an elder in 1955, regularly giving sermons to various congregations in Southern California.

As an associate member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, the Audio Engineering Society, and the Acoustical Engineering Society at the time the Ambassador Auditorium was being designed, he played an important role in the design of the lighting and sound system in the Auditorium. He obtained a master’s degree in management science from West Coast University, Los Angeles in 1976, and later completed a Master of Science Counseling Psychology program at California State University, San Bernardino in 1993 to facilitate counseling and training in the areas of alcoholism, addiction, and child abuse.

In 1976, Norman was assigned to pastor the Chico, CA, congregation and be the Area Coordinator for ministers in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. In 1980, the Smiths were transferred to San Diego— Norman’s first pastorate with no other responsibilities. The couple then transferred to the San Bernardino congregation in 1987. Norman thrived in his pastoral responsibilities, delighting in performing weddings, anointing and praying for people and seeing God bless and protect them through their trials. He delighted in counseling with people, seeing them develop a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ and make changes in their relationships with others. His “pastor’s heart” always led him to be alert to people’s needs and find innovative ways to help them.

04/30/21 02:26 PM #2    

Bob Gerringer (1967)

Norman Smith         1930 -- 2021

When my parents began seriously considering the Radio Church of God in 1961, other than HWA, the Evangelists were the stars of The Work – the most famous names – as preachers, bylines, and otherwise.  Even then as a teenager I could probably have listed most, if not all of them – and there were about ten at that time.  I thought of them as the “original” Evangelists, and they all started as AC freshman between 1947 and 1953, and achieved this high RCG rank relatively soon after graduating.  With the death of Norman Smith on Monday, only Wayne Cole is still living.

About another half dozen became Evangelists by the time I started AC in 1967, and of that additional half dozen, only David Antion is still alive.  And then I believe there was quite a gap of time before there were any more, probably not until after I left the church in early ’75. 

But thinking of Norman and Charlene Smith reminded me of much more than just the passing of that generation.  So many of you have recounted Norman's very admirable traits – a kind, modest, quiet, hard-working gentleman – so I will not restate what many of you have said and described so well.  But a couple other things came to mind.

First, before the Gym was built in 1964, and a couple years after it was built, Gene Michel and Norman Smith were the centers on the Faculty basketball team.  Checking old Portfolios, the last time Norman was in a game was late 1967.  About that time a taller, younger guy joined the faculty – Richard Plache – and he and Jim Petty dominated the scoring for a couple years – and Norman Smith and Gene Michel were retired.  But early on, when Norman Smith did play, I would guess that he seldom fouled – just not in his personality!

Secondly, my grandparents began their association with the RCG in 1942, and were pioneer members of the San Diego church when it began in the very early 50’s.  My Grandma was not bashful, and became a bit of a “den mother” for the young evangelists-in-training when they spent the weekend in San Diego practicing their preaching and ministering techniques.  In later years Grandma always spoke highly of Norman and Charlene, and her opinion carries a lot of wait with me – they were known as competent, caring people.  And Charlene spoke fondly to me of Grandma occasionally advising her and Norman. 

Lastly, Norman and Charlene really, really tried to attend the 2015 Reunion in Pasadena.  I worked with each of them to help them join the website and register for the Reunion.  Their son was going to drive them down from Oregon, and it was only at the last moment that a health issue prevented the trip – and this was a major disappointment for them, as I believe they both realized that, given their age and their health, there would be no second chance.  How I wish I could have introduced Norman and Charlene to say a few words to add to what the other “old timers” [Wayne Cole, Doris Allen (Cole), Gene Michel, Jo Ann Felt (Dorothy), and Bernell Michel] who took the mic shared with us at the opening banquet in 2015.

Norman’s greatest impact was his life example – a genuine role model – I think we can all admire how he lived his life.  Thank you, Norman Smith.

05/01/21 05:03 PM #3    

Wayne Cole (1950)

NORMAN SMITH was a fellow AMBASSADOR in every meaning of the word. He was a balanced, talented student, a friend willing to serve others wherever he could. He was an effective speaker of "Truth" as he understood it and grew in it. Norman was my roommate at A C one year and we graduated together in 1954.
It was an honor to have Norman as a friend.
Our prayers and thoughts are with his widow, Charlene, his three children and two
grandchildren who are left to cherish the fond memories of theirs lives together.
Charlene was a classmate, a roommate and a dear friend to my wife Doris. A
friendship that was everlasting as they speak often with each other on the phone. 
We have faith and confidence in Norman's ultimate reward and destiny but he will be sincerely missed here on earth during these chaotic times. Rest in peace my dear friend. I loved you as a fellow Ambassador and I love the memories we shared.
Wayne Cole

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