Robert MacLeod Smith
AGE: 89 • Hockessin
Robert MacLeod "Bob" Smith died on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The son of Robert MacLeod Smith and Charlotte Cleapor Smith, he was born in Wilmington, NC, in 1924. He grew up in Wilmington, NC, graduated from New Hanover High School in 1942 and attended Wake Forest University. He joined the U.S. Navy
as an ensign (1943-1946) and served in the Occupation Forces in Japan. Honorably discharged from the Navy, he entered Virginia Theological Seminary in 1947. During his time as a seminarian, he met his wife Jeannette "Jenny" Gleaton and they married in 1949 in her hometown of Savannah, GA.
In 1950, Bob volunteered to be a missionary to Japan, along with several of his VTS classmates. The Smiths' overseas adventure began in Fukuoka where Bob served as assistant rector to the Reverend Toshio Ota, a Japanese cleric in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Anglican Communion in Japan.
Bob was called as the founding rector of St. Alban's Anglican-Episcopal Church in Tokyo in 1955. His outgoing Southern personality and energetic sermons attracted an eclectic international congregation. The St. Alban's community flourishes to this day. Bob recently enjoyed the 50th anniversary and the overwhelming reception he received. The family enjoyed summers with other missionaries at idyllic Lake Nojiri in the Japanese Alps, swimming in the deep mountain lake, playing tennis and golf, sailing, socializing, and participating in informal cottage worship.
In 1965, Bob served as assistant rector at St. Margaret's in Washington, DC, then rector of St. Paul's in Lynchburg, VA. A significant event was his co-leadership with urban, Black ministers in a peaceful march through Lynchburg following Martin Luther King's assassination.
He was called to be rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish in Wilmington, DE, in 1968, where he served until retiring in 1986. He was most proud of his leadership of a family based '70s era church community, his outreach to neighborhoods surrounding Trinity, and his role as a founder of TRIAD, a drug and alcohol treatment center. Triad has helped countless people turn the corner in their lives, including his own.
In retirement, he turned to an old love, acting, playing roles in "Of Thee I Sing" at Longwood Gardens and "Aida" at Carnegie Hall. He was a full member of the Screen Actors Guild, achieved through his roles in 75 national commercials.
Bob's wife Jenny died in 1991. He is survived by his children, Mark of Chapel Hill, NC; Priscilla of Alexandria, VA; Robbie and wife Susan of Wilmington, DE; and Mary and husband Frank of Corpus Christi, TX, and his grandchildren: Rachel Brooker, Mimi Smith-DeCoster, Kyle Smith; Miara, Arielle, and Orion Voorhies; and Gregory and Douglas Smith, two great-grandchildren and his very good friend Phyllis Harvey.
The family would like to thank the staff at Cokesbury Village, particularly the medical staff, for all their good care of Bob, especially in his final weeks.
A memorial service will be held at 11 am Friday April 11 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1108 N. Adams St., Wilmington, DE, 19801. There will be a reception immediately after the service at the church. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to Friendship House in Wilmington, DE; the Sunday Breakfast Mission on Poplar Street in Wilmington, DE; and the Food Bank of Delaware.
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