Obituary: Clifford Axel Smith

CORVALLIS, OR  — Retired Evangelical Covenant Church minister Clifford Axel Smith died April 25. He was 99.

Clifford was born on July 24, 1922, in Olsburg, Kansas, to Alex and Esther Smith.

He worked as an auto mechanic and welder prior to being drafted in World War II. He served as a motor mechanic in Belgium near where the Battle of the Bulge was fought. Seeing the steeples of bombed-out churches at the end of the war, he sensed his call to ministry.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from the University of Northern California. He went on to graduate from Bethel Theological Seminary.

Clifford married Lily Whitaker on September 12, 1947.

They served three Evangelical Free Church congregations before he transferred his ordination and ministered at St. John’s Community Covenant Church in Portland, Oregon. He was bivocational for much of his ministry and worked as a school bus driver, door-to-door book seller, insurance salesman, and house framer.

After retirement, he served as a volunteer chaplain with Nursing Home Ministries, preaching, singing, and visiting residents for 26 years.

Survivors include children Rebecca Reed, Brenda Reed, Sharon Farr, and Julie Lyons. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lily.

Burial was in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Memorial gifts may be directed to Portland Area Nursing Home Ministries, 6537 SE King Road, Portland, OR 97222 or online.

Peace be to his memory.




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