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.