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REV. MASON SMITH, RETIRED CHEEKTOWAGA PASTOR

A funeral for the Rev. Mason Smith, pastor emeritus of Cheektowaga Community Baptist Church, was held Sept. 20 in St. Augustine, Fla.

Mr. Smith, 80, died Sept. 16, 1997, in his St. Augustine home after a long struggle with cancer.

A native of West Virginia, Mr. Smith graduated from Moody Bible Institute and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Chicago, and Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

He served as pastor of several American Baptist churches, including Wilson Baptist Church in Wilson and Cheektowaga Community Baptist.

Mr. Smith was instrumental in moving Cheektowaga Community Baptist Church from downtown Buffalo to its current location on Dick Road in Cheektowaga in 1963. The church is considered the oldest Polish Baptist church in the United States.

Mr. Smith, an accomplished cabinetmaker and carpenter as well as a talented musician, oversaw the construction of two buildings that house the relocated congregation.

During his long service in Cheektowaga, Mr. Smith served as a representative of the American Baptist Home Mission Board church-extension program, and the church grew rapidly.

He retired in 1974.

His wife of more than 50 years, Leona, died in 1989.

Survivors include his wife of seven years, Virginia K.;two daughters, Sharon Knerr of Norman, Okla., and Andrea Davidson of Aurora, Colo.; and three grandchildren.

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