Pastor Ray Smith

Ellis Ray Smith, a proud veteran of the United States Army, and founding Pastor Emeritus of Amazing Grace Church, passed away Thursday, June 17th at the age of 82, surrounded by family.

Ray was born November 25, 1938 in Clio, Alabama, where he completed high school in 1957.In 1962, at the age of 24, Ray was drafted into the United States Army, where he excelled as a leader. Stations included Ft Chaffee, Arkansas, Ft Worms, Germany, and Ft Rucker, Alabama. During his service, he achieved Squad Leader in basic training, Active Platoon Leader in AIT training, as well as honors of the Best Marksman and Supernumerary Solider of the Month. Ray was also badly burned with third degree on his hands and face when the truck he was riding in the army blew up. After much prayer from his local church, he bears no scars from this accident.

Ray Smith was also a successful entrepreneur, establishing coal mining supply business in Helena, Kentucky and Mexico. Most importantly to him, however, he was an evangelist and pastor for over forty years, founding three churches of which the latter, Amazing Grace Church was founded in 1994 where he still served as Pastor Emeritus until the time of his death.

Ray is survived by his wife of 62 years, Louise Smith, daughters, Tina Wakefield and husband, Houston and Genia Blankenship and husband Keven. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Kenny Wakefield, Rachel Wakefield and Ashland English, along with four great-grandchildren, Brianna, Taylor, Cash, and Sophia. A service honoring Ray’s life will be held on Tuesday, June 22nd at Amazing Grace Church in the Saginaw community of Alabaster at 11:30 am. Visitation precedes the service at 10:30 am. Burial will follow around 2:00 p.m. in Alabama National Cemetery.


  1. The Merritts'Family on June 18, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    I will miss the way he would tell a quick story before he preached and always greeted you with a smile. It will be weird being at church and not seeing him personally. But we will see the legacy and love that he left in his wife, 2 daughters and grandkids. Much love from the Merritts’Family.

  2. Allan "Howdy" Holder on June 18, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    My sincere condolences to the family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I personally did not know Pastor Ray but know his daughter Tina very well. Again so sorry for your loss.

  3. Sallie Majors on June 18, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    My heart was sadden by Bro. Ray’s passing. I had always enjoyed his preaching. I will continue praying for his family. I know Bro. Ray is enjoying himself in the City that preached about. What a homecoming it will be for us all one day, soon.

  4. Tom & Cindi Wells on June 18, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    Sorry for you loss…..a wonderful friend
    we are praying for you Louise & children
    love you all…..God’s Blessings

  5. The Donald Byrd Family on June 18, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    Brother Ray was an amazing evangalist and has walked with our family through our times of need during the past 22 years. What a blessing he was to us. We love you all.

  6. Johnny Whitten on June 18, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    Ray was one of the most loving and influential people I have ever known. I met Ray and most of his family in 1982. I attended his Helena Pentecostal Church for several years. Ray instilled in me the principle of tithing during that time and I don’t believe I have ever missed a tithe since. Although life sent us all in different directions, my love for him and his entire family never changed. I was truly grateful to have had the honor of seeing Ray, Louise, Tina, and Genia again about two years ago at Amazing Grace Church. I will always cherish that memory, and all of the other great memories from a long time ago. I know we will ALL meet again. I love and miss you Ray. I love all of you.

  7. Jerry Wayne Chappell on June 22, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Brother ray always had a great impact on me and my entire family.he was a great man of God.our sincere prayersgo out to the family. Brother ray left a.great legacy,and will be missies by all who ever know him