Home-going tribute for Brother George Smith

| May 15, 2013

By the Rev. Bill McGill
Special to Frost Illustrated

We have come to celebrate the life and legacy of a great man, who used his entire existence as an agent in God’s divine plan. He worked literally until his day was done and everyone will agree that his victory was won. He fought a good fight and his faith never took flight, because he had a deep abiding commitment to do what was pleasing in God’s sight.

But, while there is no denying that this brother loved the Lord, it is also undeniable that his wife Louise had a large portion of his heart strings cord. He loved his wife for more than 50 years of his life and worked deliberately to never cause her any strife. They seemed to be enjoying this never-ending love affair and treated one another with visible tender loving care. Long before people started calling their significant other boo, George was already calling his beloved wife Sweet Lou. They took seriously the vow until death us do part, and now Louise has an abundance of beautiful memories to help warm her heavy heart.

Now, Brother George was known as Mr. Civil Rights and the fight for equality was always squarely within his sights. Whether marching with CORE or organizing to open General Motors employment door, he saw the struggle as his divine mandate and never viewed it as a chore. His body had been bruised but the nightsticks couldn’t cause his determination to be confused. Vicious racist called him names and threatened his home with flames but he continued showing up for the equality games. They threatened him with death but they couldn’t extinguish his breath, because at the end of the day, his commitment to justice had far too much depth. In 2008, he and debated whether it was time for an African American to be inaugurated, but he was not sure that this country’s racism has been sufficiently regulated. Oh, but when Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination he worked hard for his election without reservation and God allowed him to live just long enough to see that man experience not one but two oaths of inauguration! I was in his hospital room the morning after last year’s reelection and it was the early hours of what we now know would be his final struggle so it was difficult to grasp what things he was comprehending with any intellectual detection. But, he broke out with a huge smile and vigorously shook his head when I told him President Obama had again been our nation’s selection. It was one more step towards that yet unrealized day of victory, when our nation will finally experience authentic equality within its total vicinity.

Yes, history will record that George Smith was a leader and none of his organizations ever called him a bleeder. He live to humbly serve, even though life had served him many an unpleasant curve.

Now while he used his feet to win African Americans a social, political and economic seat, he used his God-given voice as an instrument for others to make Jesus their choice. His Christian walk was never littered with soil or strain, so people never had a problem getting aboard his gospel train. Every ride was a treasure that gave him gratifying pleasure, and God used it as a means of alleviating hundreds of people’s pressure. If your night seemed ever so long, Brother George would give you a song. If it appeared that everything in your life was going wrong, Brother George would give you a song. And, if your strength seemed more weak than strong, Brother George would give you a song!

But the other day the head choir director decided it was time for the heavenly choir to be the group where Brother George presided. The head choir director decided because Brother George had a faith that always abided, that it was time to change the location where he resided. The head choir director made an administrative choice that it was time for the angels to be led in their procession by Brother George’s voice.

Now the Gospel Train is rolling down Heaven’s lane.

Now the Gospel Train will never have to ride through pain.

Now the Gospel Train is free of sicknesses stain.

Now the Gospel Train will never be delayed due to rain.

Now the Gospel Train is being held together by God’s divine chain.

And now the Gospel train is being run by an engine that can never experience drain, because it’s powered by a conductor who will always reign!

Thank you and God bless you.…


The Rev. Dr. Bill McGill is senior pastor of Imani Baptist Temple.


This article originally appeared in our May 15, 2013 issue.

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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