Magazine article The American Organist

OBITUARIES: David Neal Smith

Magazine article The American Organist

OBITUARIES: David Neal Smith

Article excerpt

David Neal Smith, 87 years old, Jan. 1, 2019, at Balmoral Care Center, Lake Forest, Ill. Neal, as he was known to his family and friends, was born on June 10, 1931, in St. Louis, Mo.; his father worked in the dairy industry and the family lived in several cities, primarily in Illinois. From an early age he gained a love of music, and, after graduation from high school in 1949, went to Illinois Wesleyan University to pursue a BMus degree in music education. There he was not only active in campus music programs and the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonía, but also appeared in campus drama productions. During a production of Capote's The Grass Harp he became fond of cast member Elaine Spires, with whom he shared a scene. They were married in 1954.

Smith graduated from Wesleyan in 1953 and went on to earn the MSM degree music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1955. He then took a job as organist-choir director at First Presbyterian Church in El Dorado, Ark., and two years later in the same capacity at Central Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss. Ini 962 he moved to Elkhart, Ind., to take a similar position at First Evangelical Brethren Church, which later became First United Methodist Church. For the next 40 years at First Church Smith developed innovative musical programs for adults and children, including handbell choirs. Elaine frequently collaborated with him on seasonal musical productions at the church. Following retirement, he continued as a part-time organist until 2013 at St. …

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