Friday, May 25, 2018
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Former Adrian school principal also was a pastor

ADRIAN. - James Richard "Dick" Smith, 84, a retired elementary school principal for Adrian Public Schools, died of cancer Tuesday in his home here.

Mr. Smith, a Hudson, Mich., native who lived in Adrian most of his life, was the principal at Lincoln, Prairie, Michener, and Jefferson elementary schools in Adrian for 18 years until retiring in 1982. During that time, he also was a pastor at the Ogden Community Bible Church and later at the Maple Avenue Bible Church in Adrian.

Before that, Mr. Smith, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of World War II, had at different times been a teacher, principal, Christian education director, and pastor in Michigan, Minnesota, and California.

"He really loved Jesus and he loved people and he would like people to know Jesus," his daughter, Colleen Averill, said. "So, for example, as a school principal he would invite the pupils to come to Bible school, and then he would drive a bus to pick them up on Sunday."

He held a bachelor of arts degree from Northwestern College, St. Paul; a bachelor of science degree from Macalester College, also in St. Paul; a master's degree in education from South Dakota State University, and a specialist degree in education from Eastern Michigan University. He also received a theological degree from Northwestern College.

In retirement, Mr. Smith and his wife of 64 years, Dorotha Lucille Smith, were directors of family ministries at Youth Haven Ranch, a Christian camp near Jackson, Mich., where they ministered to needy children.

He was a member of Maple Avenue Bible Church, where he volunteered for a variety of outreach programs.

In his free time, Mr. Smith enjoyed spending time with his family, gardening, playing softball, bowling, and coaching softball and baseball.

Surviving are his wife, Dorotha Lucille Smith; son, Timothy Smith; daughters, Charlotte Smith, Colleen Averill, and Cheri Smith; 16 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. today in the Anderson Funeral Home, Adrian.

The family suggests tributes to the Youth Haven Ranch for the ministry to needy children.

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