Cover photo for Marshall Lee Smith's Obituary
Marshall Lee Smith Profile Photo
1937 Marshall 2023

Marshall Lee Smith

May 20, 1937 — November 23, 2023


Reverend Dr. Marshall Lee Smith was born May 20, 1937, to the union of Pastor Ruthie Lee (Rutledge) Smith Hudson and Howard Smith in Bibb County, Coleanor, Alabama.  He was reared by his father, Howard, a loving stepmother, Jessie Lee (Farrington) Smith, his beloved grandmother Lula (Parish) Bowden, and his uncle, Will Smith. His father was a coal miner, and during his early years, the family lived in central Alabama’s coal mining district in the towns of Coleanor and Piper. When his father remarried, he gained a big sister, Mary Louise Farrington (Junious). Through his mother, he had an older brother, Emmitt Chappell, and when she later married Joe Simon Hudson, he gained five additional siblings from that union: Samuel, Annie Bess, Carrie Mae, Joel, and Robert Lee. Because his parents lived in the same vicinity, he remained close to them and all his siblings.

 Marshall attended schools in Alabama’s Bibb and Shelby counties, graduating in 1956, from Prentice High School, Montevallo.  His education also included courses from Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, Alabama), Franklin Business College (Albuquerque, New Mexico), and the Albuquerque Biblical Studies Institute. Reverend Smith confessed Christ at an early age and was baptized by Rev. G.C. Massey at Everdale Baptist Church in Piper, Alabama. His formal Christian education continued with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Master’s degree, and Doctor of Divinity degree in Religious and Parochial Education conferred by the College of World Institutional Religious Education.

Marshall’s musical legacy began at an early age when he excelled at the piano and developed his love of playing and singing gospel music. He honed those talents as musical director for Pilgrim Rest Baptist and Green Chapel Missionary Baptist Churches in Montevallo. On his journey to master musician, he organized a gospel group and traveled the South's "chittlin'" circuit performing with, among others, the Alabama Blind Boys, The Dixie Hummingbirds, and The Gospel Harmonettes. Later, he would call himself “a singing preacher,” known for his unique jazz interpretations of gospel favorites. It was a joy to hear him “in his zone” spontaneously composing, “riffing,” playing, and crooning.

When he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, the musician and choir director organized The Golden Voices, a gospel singing group that included future wife, Lillian Brown, and later, her daughter, Patsy Blackshear. Inspired by the gospel greats, they recorded “Twelve Gates of the City,” their signature song and the title of their album. He favorite song was I Won’t Complain:” 

“I've had some good days; I've had some hills to climb.

I've had some weary days and some sleepless nights.

But when I, when I look around and I think things over,

All my good days outweigh my bad days, and I won’t complain.”

Summers and weekends The Golden Voices performed all over the country, including Albuquerque, where Marshall and Lillian decided to make their home and rear Patsy and Marshall’s two boys from a previous union with Jean Jones Smith: Marshall Lee Smith, Jr. and Twain Howard Smith. He served several Albuquerque churches in various capacities and, to support his family, he also worked as an insurance agent, banker, and veterinary assistant. The Smiths, married for 42 years, were to one other the loves of their lives, Christian co-workers, loyal supporters, helpmeets, and best friends. They fostered 68 children over 29 years and adopted and reared Shalena Brishea Stephens-Smith and Rebecca Joy Inez Buchicha-Smith.

Dr. Smith served as Spiritual Advisor to CommUnity Missionary Baptist Church - so named because it contained the word and concept of “unity.” After meeting in several homes and temporary locations, the Church was officially organized in March, 2000. Dr. Smith was called to pastor the Church, and on May 7, 2000, he led the congregation to its present location at 224-C Unser Boulevard in Rio Rancho, where he served until he passed.

Reverend Dr. Marshall Lee Smith passed peacefully at Albuquerque’s Lovelace Medical Center on Thursday, November 23, 2023. He was predeceased by his grandmother; parents; step-mother; step-father; son, Marshall, Jr.; daughter, Patsy Blackshear; wife, Lillian; brother, Bishop Joel Hudson, Sr.; and sister, Annie Bell Hudson.

He leaves to mourn his passing, sonTwain Howard Smith and daughters, Shalena Brishea Stephens-Smith and Rebecca Joyce Inez Buchicha-Smith. God sustained him in body and mind so he could also help rear his twelve-year-old grandson, Elijah Armijo. Elijah joins the other grandsons who grieve their late grandfather: Anthony Bernard (Sherry) Blackshear, Sr., Marcus Smith, Micah Dean Hall, and Uriah Lee Hall. He is also missed by great grandson, Anthony Bernard Blackshear, Jr, Jeremy Peters, Micheal Rael; grand-daughters, Shebrika and LaToya Blackshear; brothers, Reverend Robert Lee (Earnestine) Hudson and Emmett (Elizabeth) Chappell; sister, Carrie Mae Hudson (Alan) Hayes; niece, Elaine Chapman-Epps; a host of nieces and nephews; and, as well, Eppie Montoya, Susan Brower, Joyce Courtin, and  Church friends. His passing leaves a void in the ranks of the Albuquerque clergy and in the hearts and minds of the members and friends of CommUNITY Missionary Baptist Church.   

Friends and loved ones will have an opportunity to pay their respects at the visitation service taking place on December 6, 2023. The visitation will be held from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Strong Thorne Mortuary located at 1100 Coal Ave SE in Albuquerque.

A Funeral Service to celebrate Marshall's life will be held on December 7, 2023. The service will commence at 11:00 AM at Shiloh Baptist Church situated at 608 Avenida Cesar Chavez SE in Albuquerque. It will be a time for friends, family, and community members to gather together, share memories, and honor the remarkable life of Marshall Lee Smith.

Marshall's legacy continues to live on through the lives he has touched. He has left behind a profound impact on the hearts of many and serves as an inspiration for all who strive to make a positive difference in the world. Though he is no longer with us, his teachings and the memories he created will forever be cherished.

As we mourn the loss of Marshall Lee Smith, we also celebrate his life and the immeasurable love and compassion he shared with all those around him. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marshall Lee Smith, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

5:00 - 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Thursday, December 7, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

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