The Rev. Dr. Edward Bernard Smart, Jr, 69, of Albany, NY, was joyously welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven on Sunday, November 4, 2018 at St. Peters Hospital in Albany.
He was born on June 23, 1949 to the late Edward Bernard and Barbara (Smith) Smart, in Dothan, Alabama. The Smarts moved from Dothan to Steelton to provide more opportunities for success for Eddie and the family. After graduating from Steelton Highspire High School in 1967, Edward attended Fisk University where he was a Fisk Jubilee Singer. He graduated from Penn State University with a BA in Political Science and continued his education at Lutheran Theological Seminary earning a joint Masters and Doctorate degree.
The family’s spiritual journey began in Dothan at Cherry St. AME. Upon arrival in Steelton, the family transferred their membership to Monumental AMEC. There Edward served the Lord with gladness on the choir and as a Pastor’s Steward. He answered the call to preach at Monumental AME under the pastoral leadership of the late Rev Horace E. Burton. After being ordained a Deacon in 1977 and an itinerate elder in 1979, Rev Edward Smart was appointed Pastor of Bethel AME in Mercersburg and Cito. St. John, Lebanon was his next charge. He was then appointed to serve St. James AME in Chambersburg. This was followed by 6 years at St. Stephen's in Harlem, NY. The itinerancy required his service next at Israel Memorial in Newark, New Jersey. After 13 years of dedicated service there, he was appointed to pastor St. James in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Two years later, Rev Smart’s appointment sent him to Israel AME in Albany, NY, where for 13 years he faithfully gave of himself to church and community. After experiencing health challenges, Pastor Smart requested a medical leave from the active pastorate in 2017. Over the span of his 40 year career, his creativity and commitment to young people and those in need was realized through various means of service: summer camps, scholarship funds, Saturday reading and tutorial programs, Plant-A-Seed (one year raised $20,000 to give to anyone in need), HBCU college tours, collaboration with Drew Seminary and Andover Newton Theological serving as a supervised site for the field education for seminary students, Step-Up, giving away 3 cars (recipients all single mothers), college campus bible study, purchase of property, youth basketball team that developed into a youth interfaith basketball league for all churches, drop-in center for city’s homeless, welfare to workforce, and summer youth employment opportunities. His community involvement stemmed from his genuine love of people. He strongly believed in seeking the least, the lost, and the left behind.
Reverend Smart was elected the first black councilman in Chambersburg and served for two consecutive terms. In Newark he was instrumental in closing a highway on-ramp next to an elementary school where a child was hit and killed by a driver. He stood up to Anheuser Busch in 1998 when they aired a commercial showing an angel drinking beer and partying. After galvanizing the faith community, with protest, press conferences and meetings with the company, the commercial was removed from the airwaves. In Albany he encouraged other pastors to donate smart boards for Albany High School classrooms.
Pastor Smart was a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc., Beta Phi Lambda Chapter and the Boule, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Beta Psi. He was always the proudest when he stood before a waiting congregation presenting those who answered the call to preach. Watching his children in the ministry during their trial sermons and robing them during ordination services were extreme honors, rendering him very emotional. We praise God for the over 35 sons and daughters birthed from his leadership and example.
Left to continue the legacy:
The love of his life, soulmate and partner for 27 years, Marion Denise Rodgers Smart
His daughter, the apple of his eye, his pride and joy, Belinda Smart Edsall (Peter Edsall)
His In Laws, Mary Ann Smart, Jacklon Rodgers, Fredrick Rodgers
His Nephews and Nieces, Barney Smart (Lesha), Tory Smart, Larry Lewis, Jejuan Graham, Tiffany Rodgers, Candace Rodgers
His Extended Family, the many children he loved and considered son/daughter, those who moved from a member developing into true brother and or sister and lastly to wonderful colleagues whom he loved and would do anything for.
Services celebrating his life will be held 11:00 AM, Monday, November 12, 2018 at Bethel AME Church, 1721 N. 5th Street, Harrisburg, with the Rev. W. Ouemonde Brangman officiating. Friends will be received from 10:00 AM until time of services.
Burial will follow at William Howard Day Cemetery, Steelton.
On Sunday, November 4, the world lost an advocate for education. Rev. Dr. Edward B. Smart spent over 40 years as a pastor, community leader and mentor. He loved young people and pushed them to pursue their dreams. He also made sure they understood the reality that dreams without plans are useless. We wish to continue his legacy by providing financial assistance to those who face challenges with meeting the very basic requirements necessary to reach the next level. For many young people in school districts facing economic adversity, the very basic things necessary to further their education can become insurmountable obstacles. Application fees for college admission, cleats for athletics, SAT testing fees, coverage of expenses for a college tour - these are the needs he would have made sure were fulfilled. So as a tribute to a life well lived and that had helped so many, we carry on his vision and dreams. In partnership with faculty at the Steelton Highspire High School, his alma mater, we will implement outreach and gifts of love to those in need.
Kimmel Funeral Home, Harrisburg, and Garland Brothers Funeral Home, Albany, are handling arrangements.
Rev. Smart Education Fund for Steelton-Highspire High School