Feb 052014

Francis G. Smith, 78, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, after a courageous battle with prostate cancer. He was surrounded by his family and his hand was held by his sweetheart as he went home to heaven. Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, at the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1691 Rainbow Road in Cottonwood, immediately followed by interment at Valley View Cemetery in Clarkdale.
Born on July 8, 1935, in Bethany, Okla., Francis moved to California after high school, and later joined the Army and served in Korea from 1957-59.
He met and married his sweetheart, Dorothy Gunby, while stationed at Fort Gordon, Augusta, Ga. Together, they moved to Holbrook in 1964, where he taught in the Holbrook Public Schools until his retirement in 1994.
Mr. Smith was active in Christian missionary work at Twin Wells Indian School in Sun Valley. He served for many years on the board of directors of Montezuma Indian Schools in Cottonwood, and also served for True Gospel Missions on the Navajo Reservation and in Guatemala. He made it his life’s work to minister to his beloved Navajo and Apache friends in many personal ways, including music and education. He was accomplished as a pianist, having taught himself to play by ear as a young man. The way he lived his life spoke of his dedication to Christ.
After his retirement, he and Dot moved from Holbrook to Clarkdale in 1997. He served at the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church in Cottonwood in the capacity of Sunday School teacher and treasurer. In December 2012, they moved to Port Saint Lucie, Fla., to be nearer to their children and grandchildren.
Survivors include his wife, Dorothy G. Smith, with whom he spent 54 wonderful years; his daughter, Melissa L. Smith of Ooltewah, Tenn.; his son, Stephen G. Smith, and daughter–in-law, Denise E. Smith of Port Saint Lucie; and his grandchildren, Alexandra E. and Jonathan S. Smith, who adored their “Peekah.”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1691 Rainbow Road, Cottonwood, Ariz. 86326.Francis G. Smith