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In Memory of . . . Philip A. Smith (1930-2015)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Rev. Philip A. Smith died on March 3, 2015 at the age of 84.

Philip was born on September 15, 1930 to Philip and Blanche Smith. He graduated Tufts College (now Tufts University) with a Bachelor of Art in 1954, and from Crane Theological School of Tufts with a Master of Divinity in 1957.

Rev. Smith was ordained by the Second Parish (Unitarian) of Marlboro, MA in 1957. He served as minister to the Second Parish (Unitarian) from 1957 to 1960. While holding that pastorate, he also served as associate chaplain to a prison in Norfolk, MA from 1958 to 1960. He went on to serve the First Unitarian Church in Louisville, KY from 1960 to 1963; and the Riverside Unitarian Church from 1963 to 1980.

Rev. Smith was a committed civil rights activist, and a spokesperson for social justice. Following the murder of James Reeb in 1965, Rev. Smith traveled to Selma, AL and marched from Selma to Montgomery. Throughout the 1960’s, he fearlessly led desegregation marches for the activist group, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and served as an active member of the group. Additional community activities involved serving as an adult adviser to CORE in Louisville, KY; member of the Louisville Executive Board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union; and co-founder and co-chairman of Kentucky Committee to Abolish Capital Punishment.

While serving the Riverside Unitarian Church, Philip trained as a psychotherapist. He received the CA license in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling in 1970, and from 1970 to 1980, he practiced psychotherapy while ministering to the Riverside Congregation. Upon his retirement from ministry in 1980, Philip practiced psychotherapy full time.

Philip was very much a maverick, and valued individual creativity. He encouraged others to hold on to their uniqueness, and exhibit it with pride. He is remembered by family and friends for his love of laughter and his appreciation of life; his final words were “thank you.”

Philip is survived by his wife, Sharon Rose Smith; son, Gabe Smith (Cindie); daughter, Bryony Smith; grandchildren, Ryan, Andy and Ashley; two great-grandchildren; and brothers, Jim, Tom, and Paul.

A celebration of Phil's life will be held later in the year.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union (American Civil Liberties Union).

Notes of condolences may be sent to Sharon Smith, 242 N. East St. #22, Amherst, MA 01002.

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