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Published: Sunday, 4/1/2007

Baptist minister was retired chaplain at St. Vincent Mercy

QUINCY, Mich. - The Rev. Gerald Smith, a retired chaplain at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, died Thursday in the Community Health Center of Branch County, Coldwater. He was 58.

Mr. Smith, a former Toledo resident, died from complications of congestive heath failure, said his sister, Constance Mursch.

A 1977 graduate of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y., Mr. Smith was pastoral counselor at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center from about 1985 to 1998.

"He was a very eloquent speaker. He cared about his congregation and took time to minister to their needs," his sister said. "He particularly took an interest in drug-abuse cases and counseled troubled teens."

Ms. Mursch said her brother pursued his ministerial career after working as a congressional assistant to the late Edward Hutchinson in the mid 1970s. "He worked 4 1/2 years in Washington and then went to the seminary,'' she said. "He had to decide between politics and religion and picked religion. But it paid a lot less."

Before joining St. Vincent, Mr. Smith, who was an ordained Baptist minister, was pastor of a church in Mount Prospect, Ill.

He was a 1966 graduate of Quincy High School. He received a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University in 1974.

Ms. Mursch said her brother's hobbies included gourmet cooking and traveling.

Surviving are his mother, Marian Smith; sister, Constance Mursch; and brothers, Michael and Stephen Smith.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow in the George White Funeral Home, Quincy, where visitation will begin one hour before the funeral.

The family requests that tributes be made to the Quincy Public Library or Quincy Alumni Association.

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