Reger Cutting Smith, Jr.
1953 - 2008
Reger Smith, a multi-talented musician, photographer, and graphic designer, served the Seventh-day Adventist church with distinction for 27 years. He was an accomplished singer, pianist, and conductor as well as a gifted songwriter and arranger.
Reger was born in Berrien Springs, Michigan, on September 3, 1953, the second of four children of Reger Cutting and Katherine Baker Smith. His father, a 1949 graduate of Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, returned to teach in and start a social work program at his alma mater in 1967, when Reger was thirteen. Katherine, who had started study at EMC in 1949, graduated the year Reger finished high school.
Reger, Jr., completed a B.S. degree at AU in 1976 and married Delores Irvin, also a 1976 graduate, in September of that year. They would have two children, Reger III (Ross) and Ruth Katherine (Katie).
The Smiths first lived in Battle Creek, Michigan, before moving to the Washington, D.C., area, where Reger held a public relations position at Hadley Memorial hospital, at that time an Adventist institution. He then served in similar positions at two other hospitals in the Adventist Health system.
Beginning in 1998, he worked at the Review and Herald Publishing Association until 2001, when he accepted a position as Associate Communication Director for Public Relations for the General Conference. He was reelected to that position in 2005.
Smith distinguished himself as an active musician, serving as a singer and pianist in the Heritage Singers. He served for several years as music minister at the Breath of Life SDA church in Fort Washington, Maryland, and was the bass in the Breath of Life male quartet. As the lyricist for Jesus Christ, How We Adore Thee, theme song of the 2005 St. Louis, Missouri, General Conference Session, he wanted it to serve both as an uplifting praise song and hymn of worship and adoration. Although a gifted musician, he was humble and quick to give God the credit for any of his musical accomplishments.
Smith enjoyed a reputation as a creative genius in other areas as well. An innovator, he was always thinking of new approaches for promotion and needed materials, including brochures, posters, banners, kiosks, and magazines. He also assisted with church publications, using his design skills to create covers and layout.
He was the inspiration behind the highly praised visitors center at the church's world headquarters. He oversaw its design and construction, which enables visitors to become acquainted with a history of the church through use of effective eye-catching timelines and interactive displays.
At the time of his death on May 8, 2008, at age 54, following a lengthy illness, his colleagues praised him for his talents, commitment, professionalism, and friendship. Following his death, the Society of Adventist Communicators established the Reger Smith Cutting Edge Award, to recognize communicators who "produce creative, innovative, and cutting-edge projects." In 2010, Denise Barclay dedicated a a track of her CD, Songs We Love, to him, featuring a medley of his songs.
Sources: Mark A. Kellner, "Reger C. Smith, Jr., GC Associate Communications Director, Dies," Adventist Review, www.adventistreview.org; Reger Smith, Jr., "It Started This Way, The Journey of Reger and Katherine Smith," Lake Union Herald, February 2005,Volume 97, No. 2; Reger Smith Cutting Edge Award, Society of Adventist Communicators (www.adventistcommunicator.org)