His moving sermons, delivered in his distinctive booming voice, touched hundreds of lives during the 37 years he served as a Baptist minister at churches in Maine and Massachusetts.

The Rev. Robert M. Smith, a longtime resident of Ocean Park – an oceanfront community in Old Orchard Beach – died Wednesday after a long illness.

The Rev. Smith was 91.

“He was a man of great faith as well as a wonderful husband and father,” said his daughter, Rebecca Smith of Concord, N.H.

The Rev. Smith was born in Boston, graduating from Medford High School in 1939.

He and his identical twin, Lincoln, both enrolled at the Gordon College of Theology and Missions. The Rev. Lincoln Smith survives his brother.

“They both had a very strong faith. As young men, being identical twins they shared a lot,” his daughter said.

She said people could not tell them apart.

“They actually switched dates one time,” she recalled. “But my mother and aunt warned them they better not try anything like that with them.”

The Rev. Smith was ordained in Bowdoinham in 1947 while serving in the Bowdoinham Baptist Church.

About a year later, he transferred to the Chelmsford Street Baptist Church in Lowell, Mass.
In 1956, he accepted an offer to become pastor at the First Baptist Church in Sanford, where he served for 29 years, until his retirement in 1985.

“It was very unusual to be in one church for that length of time,” his daughter said. “But it was a church that was thriving and he felt like he was making a contribution. Sanford just felt right to him.”

Smith said her father’s sermons were uplifting. “He was an incredible preacher,” she said. “He was able to move people with his sermons.”

She recalled one particular sermon that touched her. Her father, who was in his 50s, had recovered from a potentially life-threatening cerebral hemorrhage. “That was his most moving sermon,” she said. It was titled ‘I Believe in Miracles.’”

In 1985, the Rev. Smith and his wife, Ellen (Ober) Smith, decided to spend part of their retirement years at the family home in Ocean Park, where they had summered for many years. They wintered in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

During the 1950s, the Rev. Smith served as director of the Royal Ambassadors Boys’ Camp in Ocean Park and from 1971-1981 he held the post of Ocean Park Association superintendent.

His daughter said her father and uncle were good baseball players during high school but instead of pursuing baseball careers decided to dedicate their lives to the ministry.

That choice did not prevent the Rev. Smith from becoming a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox. He followed Red Sox games throughout his life, either by traveling to Fenway Park or watching games on television.

Last year, for Father’s Day, Rebecca Smith said she paid to have a brick installed at Fenway with her father’s name on it.

“All those who knew Rev. Smith will remember that his love of the Boston Red Sox was second only to his love of God and his family,” the family wrote in his obituary.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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