Retired New Hampshire Bishop Philip Alan Smith dies at 90

October 13, 2010

The Rt. Rev. Philip Alan Smith, seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, died Oct. 10 in Alexandria, Virginia, following a brief illness. He was 90.

Born in Belmont, Massachusetts, on April 2, 1920, Smith received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1942 and a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, in 1949.

Smith was ordained to the diaconate and to the priesthood in 1949. He served from 1949 to 1951 as assistant of All Saints' Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and from 1952 to 1959 as rector of Christ Church in Exeter, New Hampshire. In 1959, Smith was appointed assistant professor of pastoral theology at Virginia Theological Seminary and in 1962 he became its chaplain. He also served as associate dean of students at VTS from 1967 until his election as suffragan bishop of Virginia in 1970.

In 1972, Smith was elected as bishop of New Hampshire, a position he held until his retirement in 1986. During that period he also served as president of the Holderness School and the White Mountain School, president of the New Hampshire Council of Churches and president of Province I of the Episcopal Church.

Smith is preceded in death by his wife, Barbara.

New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, in a message posted on the diocese's website, said that he had seen Smith several weeks ago when he entered hospice care and that he was "still the same Phil we knew and loved." But Robinson said that Smith's health had rapidly deteriorated since "and now he joins his beloved Barbara in God's nearer presence."

Smith is survived by three children, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

The burial service and interment will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill on the campus of Virginia Theological Seminary. A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, in the Auditorium Goodwin House Alexandria. A memorial service will be held in New Hampshire at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Virginia Theological Seminary, 3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria VA 22304 or Goodwin House Foundation, 4800 Fillmore Avenue, Alexandria VA 22311.

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