Alasdair Smith, who passed away earlier this year, was born in Ness in 1925. He was the son of John and Margaret and the eldest of seven of a family. He attended school in Ness, before entering his working life at the aerodrome and as a weaver and upholsterer.
He was called up during the Second World War in the Royal Navy, but ill health cut his wartime service short, as he was forced to return home to recover from pneumonia and pleurisy.
Mr Smith came to faith in 1954 and, despite his quiet demeanour, sensed a call to ministry in his 30s. He went to Aberdeen University in 1960 and entered the Free Church College in Edinburgh in 1961 at the age of 36.
Upon completing his training, Mr Smith was licensed to preach the gospel. He was ordained and supplied Fort William Ontario for six months, and then inducted to the charge of Strontian and Acharacle in March 1965.
The following year, he married Chrissie Stewart, a primary school teacher from Back. In 1971, they accepted a call to Kilmuir, Staffin and Stencholl Free Church on the Isle of Skye. As in Strontian, the ministry in Skye was blessed, and the congregation deeply appreciated both his biblical preaching and faithful pastoral care.
In 1977, Mr Smith accepted a call to Scalpay Free Church. By this time, they had three children: Margaret, Donald and Alasdair. Mr Smith ministered in Scalpay for 13 years, until his retirement in 1991. The Smith household was always warm and welcoming.
This ministry was a time of particular blessing, where the Lord brought many people to faith. Alongside these three charges, he also served the congregation of Livonia in Detroit on two occasions; for six months in 1980, and then for a further 10 months in 1991.
Despite retiring in 1991, Mr Smith continued to serve the church through widespread lay preaching and helping as an interim moderator. His preaching was clear, sincere and saturated with biblical teaching. This was coupled with a gentle voice and kindly manner that endeared him to all.
In his final years, Mr Smith bore the burden of failing health with patience and dignity, and peacefully passed away in the early hours of Tuesday 14 February 2017.
Rev. Callum Macleod