REST IN PEACE, FR. ELMER SMITH
Fr. Elmer Smith, beloved pastor at St. Cecilia Parish for almost 27 years, has passed away. He was anointed in the sacraments just before his passing and lovingly cared for up to the moment he took his last breath. All who came to know Fr. Smith knew him as a kind, gentle, and loving man who gave the time of day for anyone who crossed his path. He will be greatly missed. Fr. Smith has donated his body to science. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr will preside at Fr. Smith’s memorial Mass, which will be held on Saturday, December 16, at 10:30 AM here at St. Cecilia. There will be a reception following in the St. Cecilia Commons.
Fr. Smith was assigned to St. Joseph Parish from 1961 to 1981.
In 1961, Father Elmer Smith was assigned as assistant to Father Bernard. Born in Dayton on July 19, 1926, he was ordained on September 8, 1950. Father Smith was well-known in the Springfield community for his active work in promoting a number of ecumenical programs. St. Joseph became known as the “friendly parish” for the warm welcome given to friend and visitor alike. Father Smith called each person by name and spoke to each visitor after Mass. He promoted wide participation in church and school activities. He strived for personal contact with each parish member. Father Smith never kept office hours. Many times he would get a call and we would see him leave in the middle of the night to be with a dying parishioner in the hospital or to console a distressed family, arriving back in time to say morning Mass and begin another full day.
In 1974, Father Bernard successfully campaigned to the archbishop to name Father Elmer Smith to succeed him as pastor. In 1981, Father Hopping arrived to assist Father Smith. At about this same time, Father Smith received word of his appointment in St. Cecelia Parish in Cincinnati. There was great sadness when Father Smith left, the parish having lost two beloved pastors (the other being Fr. Berard who had recently died) in one year. A brick and glass enclosed sign stating the sermon topic and Mass schedule was erected in front of the church with labor donated by parishioners. It was dedicated to Father Smith for twenty years of service to the people of St. Joseph.