Death of Dalton Smith, Former Staff Member

Death of Dalton Smith, Former Staff Member

January 8, 1918 – April 16, 2013

Global Ministries was saddened to learn of the passing of Dalton Smith, former staff member, on April 16, 2013.  He passed away peacefully surrounded by people who loved him.  The United Church of Christ has lost an individual who truly “walked the walk” of love of God, love of nation, and love of neighbor. 

Dalton was born January 8, 1918, in Bloomfield, Iowa, the son of Harry Fayette Smith and Marge Nancy Lanman Smith.  He attended public schools in Farmington, Keosauqua, and Fort Madison, Iowa; Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa; and graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa.

Dalton served in the military for more than 23 years of continuous active duty including World War II in which he served in Europe and North Africa.  At the time he retired from the Air Force, he was Chief of Staff for Air Force Intelligence at the Pentagon.  Among numerous decorations, he received the Bronze Star, the European-African-Middle East Medal with twelve bronze service stars, the Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1964, Dalton joined the home-based staff of the nation’s oldest foreign missionary agency in New York City.  His wide-ranging duties in the United Church Board of World Ministries (UCBWM) included as Assistant to the Executive Vice-President of the UCBWM, and policy development for the agency’s Board of Directors.  Helping the Board function regularly and transparently, he kept the entire denomination better informed about the needs and growth of Christian Churches around the world.

In one especially dramatic effort, he developed a program in which U.S. congregations assisted U.S. churches in developing nations distribute millions of ladybugs to farmers to ensure pollination of their crops.  The program was a practical contribution to the problems of world hunger.

Dalton served with United Church Board for World Ministries for a total of 22 years, working with three successive executives:  Alford Carleton, David Stowe, and Scott Libbey.  He also served as Moderator of the denomination’s Central Atlantic Conference.

Dalton became known across the United Church of Christ as an effective administrator and after his second retirement was immediately tapped to function as head of the denomination’s New Jersey Association.  It was the first time that a non-ordained person had served in that position.  Later he tackled a series of specific assignments in the UCC national offices including serving as the Executive Associate for the church’s General Minister, Avery D. Post.  Dalton provided staffing for General Synods and worked with the committee that worked on the relocation of the national offices from New York to Cleveland.  Long-time UCBWM/WCM colleague Dale Bishop states:  He was a man of considerable organizational ability–for some years he planned Annual Meetings, oversaw the office staff in New York, and coordinated the print publicity for the Board.  He also did anything else that the EVP wanted to be sure was done well.  He loved the Board, loved the church, and loved the people with whom he worked.  He had a big heart, and an unforgettable smile.  After his retirement, through his notes and telephone calls, Dalton facilitated a network that kept the “alums” of the Board informed about one another.

Dalton is survived by three children, Suzanna D. Smith (Gary Appelson) of Gainesville, Florida; Timothy Lon Smith (Penny Poirier) of Cincinnati, Ohio; Thomas Fayette Smith of Haworth, New Jersey; and two granddaughters, Jesse Smith-Appelson and Tyler Poirier.  He was preceded in death by Waneta Wilson Wood, his wife of 57 years, who died in 2004.

A Memorial Service celebrating the life of Dalton Smith will be held on Saturday, July 13, at 11:00 a.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 276 Haworth Avenue, Haworth, NJ   07641-1225. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dalton’s memory to Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ (700 Prospect Ave, Cleveland OH  44115 or, the Air Force Memorial ( or Central College (

Condolences may be sent to:   Tom Smith, 374 Pine Lane, Haworth, New Jersey   07641-1307.