Obituary for Jeffry Smith

My father, Rev. Canon Jeffry Smith, who died of cancer at the age of 66, was a caring man with a big heart and a big beard. Jeffry lived an adventurous and ordained life in California, England, Bermuda and Scotland.

Jeffry was born in Inglewood, California to Roger Smith, a minor league baseball player who later became a teacher, and Marguerite (née Beverly), a teacher, and attended Claremont High School.

Working from an early age, he met Barbara Hone by chance while working handyman jobs, and they married in 1977. Supporting himself through his education, he earned his BA in history and economics from Pitzer College, California, and his theological training at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, with an exchange to Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire.

He was ordained a deacon of the Episcopalian Church in 1986 and a priest in 1987, serving at St. Paul’s Parish, Visalia, California. He felt a sense of belonging to the United Kingdom, first experienced in Oxfordshire, and after a parish at St Francis, Frimley, Surrey (1987-92), became Rector of nearby East and West Clandon, where our family spent formative years spent.

In 2003 Jeffry and Barbara moved to Devon where he worked as a chaplain at HMP Channings Wood near Newton Abbot. They then moved to Bermuda, where Jeffry served as a canon at Holy Trinity Cathedral.

When he returned to the UK in 2007 he finished working on the beautiful Northumberland coasts and hills. He joined the Diocese of Newcastle and then, in a final position before retiring, crossed the River Tweed as Rector of St Mary and All Souls, Coldstream, in the Diocese of Edinburgh of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Throughout his ministry, Jeffry looked beyond the community; Meeting and connecting with people from different backgrounds and traveling the world. He attended and ministered at St Mary the Virgin, Belgrade, Serbia. At the invitation of a friend from Malawi, he traveled there for a month to teach and preach. He collected donations to build a school in Kenya. He often walked long distances, including the Winchester-Canterbury pilgrimage route, the Camino from Porto, Portugal, to Santiago de Campostela, Spain, and the route to the Black Madonna icon of Częstochowa, Poland. He will be fondly remembered for his warmth and zest for life.

He is survived by Barbara, his daughters Laura and I, and grandchildren Thomas, Naomi, Anna-Maria, Lydia, and Ezra.

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