John Lawrence Smith, 69, of Hurricane, a self-proclaimed “traveling
United Methodist preacher, an observer of God’s creation and a
recorder of Mountain heritage,” died Friday, Dec. 31, 2010, at
Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston after a long illness.
He was born Jan. 24, 1941, in Charleston to the late Stanley
Lawrence and Margie Edwards Smith of Nitro.
Smith is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Nancy
Hendricks Smith; children, Jay Lawrence Smith and Julianne
(Danny) Smith Bowyer, both of Hurricane; grandchildren, Jasmine
Bowyer and Danny Bowyer III; sisters Helen Harman of Luray, Va.,
Rebecca (Robert) Jordan, of Dallas, Texas; brother Richard
(Robin) Stanley Smith, of St. Albans and many nieces, nephews
He is an alumnus of both Nitro High School (’58) and West
Virginia University (’62). He received a Masters of Divinity
from Wesley Theological Seminary in 1965.
In 1966, Smith was ordained a pastor in the West Virginia
Conference of the United Methodist Church. His service to the
Lord took him over most of the state starting in the Potomac
Highlands of Pendleton, Hardy and Grant counties were he served
eight churches, and concluding in 2001 with Montgomery and
Boomer United Methodist churches in Fayette County.
He was also the author of many books on the natural history of
West Virginia including The Potomac Naturalist, Blackwater
Country, The High Allegheny and The Birds of Pendleton County.
He had many other articles on the state’s history appear in
Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.
A memorial service for Smith was held on Saturday, Jan. 8, at
the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Hurricane. A reception to celebrate
what would have been his 70th birthday followed.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in
Smith’s name either to the Handlin Chapter of the Brooks Bird
Club, 305 Mount View Dr., Charleston, W. Va., 25314 or the
Friends of Blackwater, 501 Elizabeth St., Charleston, W. Va.,