Cover photo for Gerald R. Smith's Obituary
Gerald R. Smith Profile Photo

Gerald R. Smith

April 23, 1943 — March 18, 2024

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Gerald R. Smith

Jerry was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and lived most of his life in the flat prairies of midwest - Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas. These were that were dear to his heart and where he called home.

Jerry graduated from the University of Oklahoma and pursued a successful career in business until he was introduced to the Lord by a dear neighbor and family friend who invited him and his young family to church. He soon realized that this Savior is what was missing from his life. Once he placed his faith in Jesus, he never looked back. In 1979, he moved his young family to Dallas, Texas, where he pursued his masters at Dallas Theology Seminary in preparation for full time ministry. This calling led him to pastor Calgary Evangelical Bible Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Fort Smith Bible Fellowship in Fort Smith, Arkansas; and he would eventually spend 30 years serving at Christ Fellowship in Franklin, Tennessee, from where he would eventually retire. That didn’t stop him. In their retirement, Jerry and Diane moved to Great Bend, Kansas, where he served a small body of believers at Eden Valley Church of the Brethren until it was time to return to middle Tennessee for health reasons to be near family. We cannot begin count the number of people he left his mark on in his teaching of the Bible and conversations over a cup of coffee at _________ (Shoney’s, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel … insert here where you met him!)


When he wasn’t serving the church, he loved to fish (especially when living in Arkansas), was an incredibly talented photographer, spoiled his Keeshond pups, loved to cook (his sausage gravy is legendary), and doted on his Lady Di more than one would think possible. His care of Diane in her last years with Alzheimer's was a model of what it means to love your spouse unconditionally, in sickness and health, even at the cost of his own health and wellbeing. This is true tesed love as modeled by Jesus.


Jerry was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Diane, and their first grandchild, Dasya Gray. He is survived by his daughters, Stephanie Shepherd (Travis), and Kathy Gray (Terrance), six grandchildren, Noelle, Natalie, Elizabeth, and Ethan Shepherd, Jordan Hatfield (Sean), and Myles Gray; and one great granddaughter, Kaia Hatfield. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Steve Damon, nephew Travis Damon, and niece Heather Damon.

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