Obituaries for 2019

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James Clapsaddle Smith, 91, a Christian church preacher and general director of Christian Missionary Fellowship (now CMFI) for 20 years, died Oct. 23, 2019. He was born April 7, 1928, in Centerville, Kan., the son of Kathleen May Clapsaddle Smith and Dewey Bryan Smith. After his father died in an accident in 1934, he and his seven siblings grew up in a single-parent home. He attended Northwest Christian College (now Northwest Christian University) in Eugene, Ore., which is where he met Joyce Couch of Seattle. They married on July 1, 1949, then continued to complete their college education at NCC. He served as student body president his senior year and graduated with a B.Th. in 1951. He also earned two graduate degrees (in theology and in communications) from Butler University in Indianapolis, and eventually the Doctor of Missiology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif., in 1976. The Smiths served Yoncalla (Ore.) Church of Christ; Figueroa Boulevard Christian Church in Los Angeles; Oaklandon (Ind.) Christian Church (now Outlook Christian Church); First Christian Church in Roseburg, Ore.; and he was interim with Mountain Christian Church in Bel Air, Md. He served several interim roles at California churches after his retirement, and he also was a part-time professor at Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University). He accepted the position of general director of the Christian Missionary Fellowship in 1967. During his 20 years with CMF, he encouraged consensus thinking and decision making, as well as long-range planning. He traveled the States and the world; he encouraged local churches and their leaders to expand their world mission vision to fulfill the Great Commission. His lifelong passion was that the gospel of Jesus Christ be preached to all nations. He died peacefully in his sleep with his wife by his side. He was preceded in death by his seven siblings. In addition to Joyce, his wife of 70 years, he is survived by one son, Jay; three daughters, Jeri, Julie, and Jamie; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandsons. In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to consider a gift to CMFI ( or NCU ( [A lengthier obituary is available here. CMFI remembered Smith in a blog entry at]

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