Wesley Edward Smith died peacefully of natural causes on May 31, 2015 at the age of 77 at his residence in Winona Lake, IN. His Bible was open to the first chapter of John and his glasses were on. Chances are that he died doing what he loved the most, studying the Word of God.
Wesley was born in 1938 in Chicago, IL to Fred and Mabel Notter and later adopted by Edward and Frances Smith. Wesley attended Wheaton Academy in Wheaton, IL and earned his B.A. from Greenville College in Greenville, IL in 1960.
Wesley taught English Literature in the Michigan public school system before his own study of the Bible as literature convinced him that teaching that particular book should take precedence over any others. He left his job to preach the gospel on the streets of Flint, MI, ministering to gang members in particular. Wesley's radical commitment to Christ and “Make 'em mad or make 'em glad” style of preaching soon landed him in churches, conferences, and assemblies across the USA. Eventually, Wesley was invited to speak in open-air crusades in countries such as the Philippines, Haiti, Kenya, and India.
He married his late wife, Primrose Clerie in 1965. Together they led dozens of teams of people overseas on short-term mission trips and raised five daughters.
Wesley founded Full Life Crusade, a non-profit organization which helped to plant hundreds of churches across the world, financed relief efforts and humanitarian services, published and arranged for the transportation of over 2 million bibles into China, and trained and equipped other people to do the same through Leadership Training Seminars, which he regularly taught during his years in Boynton Beach, FL. Wesley also authored four books, including Mission Impossible and Gateway to Power.
After recovering from a serious illness contracted in Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Wesley stayed closer to home, preaching out-of-state only occasionally. He loved to lead Bible studies with his friends, and enjoyed teaching Sunday school at Winona Lake Free Methodist Church, where he regularly attended. He also liked to read, study, write, and take walks with his dog, Bear.
He is survived by 5 daughters: Lisa Bartow, Konda Koorey, Martha Berg Jones, Heidi Roberts, and April Bourdeau, their husbands, 20 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Wesley will be remembered as being devoted to Jesus Christ and to his family.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, June 27 at 2:00 p.m. at the Winona Lake Free Methodist Church, followed by a light meal. Side-dishes are welcome. All are invited to join us in celebrating the extraordinary life of Wesley Smith.
Memorial gifts can be sent to Full Life Crusade, P.O. Box 398, Winona Lake, IN 46590 or online at FLC7.com for the relief efforts of Pastor Pradhan and his churches in Nepal, India, in the aftermath of the recent earthquakes.