Father Michael Smith dies

Originally Appeared in : 9714-7/6/17

Father Michael H. Smith, 78, a priest of the Diocese of Savannah for 51 years, died at Ogeechee Area Hospice in Statesboro early Wednesday, June 21.


Ordained in 1966, he had been living in retirement in Statesboro since 2007. 


He began his priestly service as an assistant pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Savannah. During the period from 1968 to 1979 he served as director of the Department of Christian Formation and the director of Camp Villa Marie in Savannah.


He was pastor of Saint Anthony Church in Savannah (now Resurrection of Our Lord) from 1979 to 1988, pastor of Saint Matthew Church in Statesboro and Saint Boniface Church in Springfield from 1988 to 1997,  and pastor of Holy Redeemer Church in McRae and its mission, Saint Mark Church in Eastman from 1997 to 2001.


He retired after serving as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Moultrie and Saint John Vianney Mission in Camilla from 2001 to 2007. 


He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Anna Heffernan Smith, and his brother David Smith.


Survivors include his sister and brother-in-law Anne (Joseph) Melanson; a niece Cathy (Joe) Perry; four nephews, Daniel (Brenda), Stephen (Nikki), Paul, and Andrew; seven great nieces and nephews and many cousins; and his brother priests, especially Father Tom Nellis and members of the Jesus Caritas fraternity.


A Funeral Mass was celebrated at noon on Thursday, June 29, at Saint Matthew’s. Bishop Hartmayer was the celebrant and Father Tom Nellis was the homilist. 


Memorials may be made to ICMC, an international Catholic organization serving the needs of refugees and migrants; Ogeechee Area Hospice, or St. Matthew Catholic Church in Statesboro, where Father Mike was pastor for nine years and later ministered during retirement. 


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