Mark Richard Smith, 59, of Maryville, entered into heaven on Thursday, September 27. He is survived by his wife, Frances Smith, of Maryville; two sons, Jordan Smith and Ethan Smith, both of Maryville; his mother, Sharon Smith, of Maryville; two sisters, Lisa Lambert of Nashville and Mellie Davis of Blacksburg, Va.; and three stepchildren, Michael Poda of Rock Hill, SC, Alex Poda of Sumter, SC, and Courtney Poda of Aiken, SC. He is predeceased by his father, Richard Smith, and his wife of 24 years, Lisa Smith. Mark spent a lifetime in service to the Lord. He was a picture of how the Lord uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things, if we but submit to His guidance. Mark was born in Oak Ridge and grew up in Athens, Tenn. He spent his high school years in Maryville, then attended the University of Tennessee and The Southern Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. In the midst of his college years he heeded a call into the mission field, and spent a year at the age of 19 in Nome, Alaska, helping build a church and ministering to children and prisoners in the local jail. At the University of Tennessee he served as president of the Baptist Student Union and also youth minister at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, where he led his youth group to start a Muppet ministry that performed at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville. After graduation from seminary, he spent more than two decades working with church stewardship, serving more than 400 churches across the United States. He was an avid Boy Scout, attaining his Eagle rank at the age of 14. When his sons reached scouting age, he became Scoutmaster of Troop 87 at Broadway Methodist Church. Both his sons achieved Eagle rank at age 14, and he led a total of 39 young boys to attain their Eagle ranks. In 2014, a book about his Alaska ministry, written by his wife, Frances, was published. Two years later a subsequent book about his time at UT and Pleasant Grove was published. His wife is currently working on the third book in the trilogy about his years in church stewardship and scouting, as a tribute to Mark. The family will receive friends from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, October 4, at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. The service will follow at 6 p.m. Memorials may be made to Nome Community Baptist Church, in Nome, Alaska, P.O. Box 934, Nome, AK 99762. Designate gift to Nome Mission.
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