Reger C. Smith, Jr., 54, an associate communication director
for the 16-million member Seventh-day Adventist church, died in the early
morning hours of May 8, at his home in Silver Spring, not far from the church's
world headquarters. His death followed a lengthy illness.
Smith spent over 27 years – more than half his life – in
service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, beginning in Battle Creek,
Michigan, and including a public relations position at what is now known as The
Specialty Hospital of Washington - Hadley in southwest Washington, D.C., which
was once owned by Adventist Health. He held similar positions at Hackettstown
Community and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals, both part of the Adventist
Health system. From 1998 to 2001, he was employed at the church-owned Review
and Herald Publishing Association in Hagerstown; since 2001, Smith served at
the world headquarters, having been reelected to his position in 2005.
"In Reger we're losing a colleague, but we're also losing
a friend," Rajmund Dabrowski, General Conference communication director,
said. "Reger made the communication team and Adventist communication
stronger because of his enormous talent and commitment," Dabrowski added.
A talented musician, composer, arranger, and singer who
performed with the church-connected Breath of Life quartet and the Heritage
Singers, a contemporary Christian group, Smith was the lyricist for the
official song of the church's 2005 world business session, which drew 70,000
people to St. Louis, Missouri. The song, entitled, "Jesus Christ How
We Adore You," was designed to portray "Christ's many facets as a
provider, mentor, creator and redeemer," Smith told Adventist News Network
at the time.
"I wanted the song to be an uplifting praise song and
at the same time one of worship and adoration," said Smith in the ANN
Smith, had an extensive musical background playing piano,
singing and directing groups and choirs, and was, for several years, music
minister at Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fort Washington,
"The thing with Reger is, there are many people with
musical genius, but there are very few who have musical genius and a totally
humble attitude," said J. Alfred Johnson II, Smith's former pastor at the
Breath of Life Adventist Church and now a ministries director for the North
America Division. Friends and colleagues remembered him as a dedicated family
man who credited his creativity to God. "He was often times amazed at what
would come out of his fingers on a keyboard," Johnson said. "He'd
say, 'Oh, wow, Lord that was nice wasn't it? You really made some music here
Along with his musical accomplishments, Smith was a noted
photographer and designer within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, having
designed many periodicals and other publications, including Message magazine.
He was the prime coordinator for the 2003 construction of a visitor's center at
the world headquarters.
The self-exploring design of the exhibits – a timeline of
church history, displays telling stories of church leaders and activities, and
interactive computer kiosks – enable visitors to browse at their own pace. More
than 7,000 people visit the church complex each year. From its main offices in
Silver Spring, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, headquartered in the D.C. area
since 1904, serves the spiritual needs of 16 million baptized members in 203
countries and territories of the world.
Delores, his wife, son Reger (Ross) Smith III and daughter
Ruth Katherine (Katie), survive, along with sisters Marjorie Bates and Susan
Smith and his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Reger C. Smith, Sr., of Berrien Springs,
Michigan. An older sister, Meredith Dickerson, preceded him in death.
-Mark A. Kellner