Dr. Ralph M Smith, beloved father, pastor, and friend, went to Heaven to unite with His Savior, Jesus Christ, his wife, Bess, and a multitude of family and friends on March 11, 2017. He is survived by his children, Diane Love and spouse Bill Love, Wallace Smith and spouse Lanette Smith, and Peyton Smith and spouse Beth Smith. His loving family included: granddaughter Lisa Gilbert and spouse Hayden Gilbert, their children, Meredith and Luke; his grandson Jeff Love and his spouse Jennifer Love and their daughter Laci Love; grandchildren Madison, Martha Lauren and Noble Smith, all working in cities around our nation: Lincoln Smith, a senior at Baylor, and Scarlett Smith, a high school junior. He is survived by his only sister, Mary Jo Goldman of Bryan, TX and her family of numerous nieces and nephews. Dr. Smith always said, "My family is the most important thing to me on earth" and he never missed the opportunity to tell the family "I'm so proud of you" and "Can I do anything for you?". We will miss that encouragement immensely.
Born March 19, 1931, Dr. Smith grew up in Hot Springs, AR. After receiving a Doctorate of Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1956, Dr. Smith pastored First Baptist Church, Rosenberg, TX, Hyde Park Baptist Church, Austin, TX and served on the Executive Committee founding Austin Baptist Church. He was a Regent at Baylor University, Chairman of the Building Committee for North American Mission Board, Chairman of Board of Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Home Mission Board Chairman, President of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and President of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastor's Conference. He is a former Chaplain of the Texas House of Representatives. Dr. Smith Helped establish 16 churches from 1952 through 2015 and has built numerous buildings for Baptist organizations. He has authored 4 books and has a pastoral library of over 5,000 sermons he joyfully delivered during his ministry.
Dr. Smith was stricken with Guillain-Barre in March of 1996 which left him handicapped. His spirit and strong will helped him become active again, after 17 months in Seton Hospital and St. David's Rehab in Austin. Dr. Smith's latest book, "You Can't Fall off the Floor", chronicles the struggles of his overcoming this debilitating disease in a detailed, charming, uplifting way in hopes of helping those with GB find the courage and strength to beat the neurological syndrome.
By no means was Ralph Smith a boring man! He loved UT sports, attending football games, girls basketball, and men's baseball games in to his 80's. He was a mentor to young pastors until 2016. In his younger years, he skied, participated in water sports, tried to play golf, traveled all over the world, owned a moped/scooter, swam every day the weather permitted, wrote notes and letters of encouragement, and enjoyed hunting. His hunting ended when he shot his hosts' bird dog in the leg in Manor, Texas! He will be remembered for the positive, decisive leader he has been. His fun loving demeanor, warm and personable spirit, quick smile, and unwavering faith in His Lord Jesus Christ have changed those he has met forever.
Special and warm thanks to Brookdale Spicewood Springs Skilled Nursing for the exemplary respect and kind and loving care extended to Dr. Smith and the family. We count every person he touched while there part of our family.
The family requests memorials be given to Austin Baptist Church Building Fund. Private Burial in Texas State Cemetery March 14, 2017 with a memorial service to follow at 11:00 a.m. at Austin Baptist Church, 2222 and Ribelin Ranch Road. Honorary pallbearers are Bill Glover, Wayne McDonald, Dick Rathgeber, Tom Stacy, and Rogers Wilson.