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Rufus Andrew Smith, Sr., or “Stout,” was God’s gift to Mable (Olds) Smith and William McKinley Smith on February 12, 1935. He stepped into immortality on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York.
Rufus Andrew Smith, Sr. attended Greene County Training School in North Carolina. Rufus enjoyed playing baseball. He played as a pitcher. His teammates called him “Smitty” when he played baseball with the Los Angeles Hawks. The San Francisco Giants called him for tryouts with the major league. His tryouts were alongside Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda.
Eventually, Rufus migrated to New York City where he met and married Dorothy A. Lawrence.* They were married in 1959 at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. Their union was blessed with two children, Rufus Andrew Smith, Jr.,* and Tanya C. Smith. Rufus was a dedicated father. He spent the weekdays picking his children up from school on his lunch break and his weekends taking them to choir rehearsal and other events.
Rufus joined Shiloh Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, in the early 1960s under the leadership of the late Bishop William C. Gillams. Rufus served as an usher. Rufus enjoyed singing and was a member of the Brotherhood Male Chorus. Rufus was an avid student of the Bible and served as a Sunday School teacher at Shiloh. He also attended the Manhattan Bible Institute in Harlem, New York. He served as the Field Representative for the Northeastern District Assembly Sunday School Convention for many years. In this capacity, he visited various churches throughout the district and provided a report on the functioning of the Sunday School.
Professionally, Rufus was an arduous worker. He worked 24 years alone for the New York City Department of Health prior to retiring on May 13, 1995.
Although Rufus was afflicted by many illnesses later in life, he fought a good fight, he finished his course, and he kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).
Rufus had eight siblings: Earl Smith, Hubert “Sandy”Smith,* Bradford “Bobby” Smith,* Billy Smith, Florence “Sister” Tyson,* Julia Hubbard, Evelyn Smith, and Betty Smith. Rufus had four sisters-in-law: Colissia,* Ethelina,* Laura, and Ruth.* Two brothers-in-law: Jasper and Moses.* Rufus had one daughter-in-law, Colette. Rufus had one Goddaughter, Dorcella Shell. He leaves a host of nieces, nephews, and friends to cherish his memory.
*Resting in the arms of the Lord."
Done in love and sorrow by The Family