Reverend Bruce Allen Smith, 64, of Sullivan, went home to be with his Lord Saturday, April 5, 2014. Bruce was born September 5, 1949, in Berea, to Robert and Lillian (nee Hale) Smith. He was the third of 11 children.
As a young child, Bruce was a Boy Scout. He graduated from Olmsted Falls High School in 1967. He played the trumpet in the high school band, and played baseball and football and wrestled. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cleveland State University, with a teaching certificate in history. He was a substitute teacher for the Medina County School system.
On June 12, 1971, Bruce married a preacher's daughter, Charlotte Ann Goff. Soon after that, he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and then was called into the gospel ministry. He then attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri and Hyles Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana.
Bruce and his wife, Char, served the Lord together at churches in Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, and Ohio. At First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, the Lord used Bruce and Char to build one of the fastest growing bus ministries at that church. Bruce also served as a youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in North Ridgeville, and Lakeview Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri. He pastored a church in the mountains of Tennessee and served as associate pastor of Rocky River Baptist Church in Rocky River. When Bruce and Char attended Dyer Baptist Church in Dyer, Indiana, Bruce went on two mission trips to Monterey, Mexico. Char went with him on one of those trips. Bruce's current position was associate pastor and song leader for Country View Baptist Church in Sullivan. During Vacation Bible School, he even led the children in singing their songs and helped Pastor Goff put on a ventriloquist show with "Red" and "Hardy."
While his four children were growing up, Bruce spent many years coaching softball, baseball, wrestling, and football in the Black River School district. In 2013, he portrayed Santa Claus for the children of Black River preschool and Elementary and filled their day with some unexpected joy.
Prior to retirement, Bruce worked in the tool department of the Sears store at Midway Mall in Elyria, and owned and operated his own curbing business.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Amelia and Robert Smith, Sr.; maternal grandparents James and Alice Hale; father, Robert Smith, Jr.; brother, Dale and wife, Claire; brother, Barry; and sister, Patricia Fulkroad.
He is survived by his wife, Char (nee Goff); and his four children, Brant (Sullivan), Joshua and wife, Amy (Sullivan), Andrea and husband, Norm Hoelk (Spencer), and Jacklyn (Spencer). He has 13 grandchildren, Tyler, Rachel, Evan, Allison, Layla, Cory, Erin, Peyton, Tristan, Quinn, Hannah, Allen, and Troy. He is also survived by his mother, Lillian Smith (Westlake); brothers, Danny (Westlake), Lance and wife, Judy (Berea), Scott and wife, Karen (Parma), and Ted and wife, Denise of Wisconsin; sisters Dawn (Bay Village), Denise Day (Bay Village), and Linda Yeager (North Olmsted). Bruce has many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved very much.
Bruce's wish is for all his friends and family to join him in Heaven by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. (John 3:16).
Calling hours will be from 6 until 8 P.M., Tuesday evening, April 8, 2014, at the Country View Baptist Church, 557 State Route 224, in Sullivan. The funeral services will be at 11 A.M., Wednesday, April 9, 2014, also at the Country View Baptist Church. Pastor Glen Goff will officiate.
All flowers should be sent to Country View Baptist Church. Donations can be made to the Country View Baptist Church, in Bruce's name.
Arrangements will be handled by Matteson Funeral Home of West Salem. Online condolences may be shared at www.mattesonfhcom