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DailyTidings.com
  • Nevitt Brenton Smith

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  • Reverend Nevitt Brenton Smith of Ashland, Ore. passed away December 14, 2012, one day after his 87th birthday, following an extended battle with Parkinson's Disease.
    The son of Methodist missionaries, he was born in Lucknow, India, where his father, Dr. S. Raynor Smith, served as District Superintendent.
    He graduated Salem High School in 1943 and continued on to receive a bachelor's degree from Willamette University, and a master of divinity from Boston University.
    He married Lilly Ellen Lee Simmonds and together they had two children, Brenton and Ellen. Following the death of Lee in a traffic accident in 1961, Nevitt married Beverly O'Dwyer November 18, 1962. They remained together until Beverly's death in 2002.
    Reverend Smith was a long-time pastor in the Methodist Church, obtaining his license to preach in 1943, at the age of 18. He served several Oregon parishes including Turner and West Salem-Summit while in college. During his seminary studies he was pastor of several parishes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Nevitt returned to Oregon in 1954 and served churches in Sellwood (Portland), Tigard, Forest Grove, and Jason Lee (Salem.) In 1982, he was appointed to the First United Methodist church of Ashland, where he worked until his official retirement in 1991. Nevitt's ministry continued for many years after retirement, and at the time of his death he was Pastor Emeritus of the Ashland UMC, an appointment in which he took great pride.
    Nevitt was very active in the Ashland community. A long-time member of Kiwanis International, he served for many years as the club's newsletter editor. During his years in Ashland, Reverend Smith also worked as a Red Coat for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; as a docent for the Pacific Northwest Museum of Natural History; and as a lecturer at Southern Oregon University where he taught a course in comparative religion. Nevitt loved music and was active in the Siskiyou Singers. He also loved to travel and organized many overseas tours including several to the holy lands.
    Those interested in making a memorial gift are encouraged to support the Kiwanis International Foundation, kif.kiwanis.org or Ashland Community Hospital Hospice, www.achfoundation.org.
    A celebration of life is scheduled for January 12, 2013, at the Ashland United Methodist Church on Siskiyou Boulevard.
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