The official news service of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist church


2 May 2021 | St Albans [tedNEWS with Bert Smit]  

We are sad to announce the death of Pastor Herman Jan Smit on Saturday, 1 May 2021. As well as working in the Netherlands, Smit served as Communication director for what is now the Trans-European Division between 1980 – 1985 then moving on to become the first ADRA country director for Zambia before serving as Greek Mission President from 1988 until his retirement in 1997.

Herman Smit portraitSmit was born on 10 May 1933 in Groningen, a town in the north of the Netherlands. His father passed away just two years later. His childhood was quite broken as he followed his mother who resorted to being a housekeeper to earn a living. For some time he lived on a farm in Thessingen, a village near Groningen where his mother found a position as housekeeper. Smit always talked about those days with a certain fondness. When she married the farmer he was sent to the city aged 7 to live with an aunt and uncle and attend primary school.

His mother was a Seventh-day Adventist so, when Smit turned 14 he was sent to the Adventist boarding school at Oud Zandbergen, the Netherlands Union seminary, attending first high school and then studying theology.

Here he met his wife, Ge Van der Horst. They married in 1956 as Smit took up his first placement as a pastor in Goes. Their first child, Bert was born in 1957, followed by Marcel, Ellen and Alexander during the period when he pastored three other churches in Middelburg, Nijmegen and Dordrecht.

In 1973 he moved to the Netherlands Union, first as Youth Director and then as Sabbath school and Communications director before accepting in 1980 the role of Communications Director at the Trans European Division office in St Albans, England. With this move the Smit family base in the Netherlands was gone as two more moves led to service as ADRA director in Zambia and then as Greek Mission President.

In 1997 they finally took early retirement and settled in Rijssen in the Netherlands with their children now scattered between Australia, the UK and the USA.

Twenty-three years of retirement helped the couple develop a love of cycling. They purchased electric bikes and were extremely proud of the nearly 20,000 km they rode over the years. Where possible, especially in the earlier years of retirement, they equally travelled to see their children and grandchildren. They loved their children, their grandchildren, and more recently, their great grandchildren. Although the last few years, due to deteriorating health, they did not see as much of them as they would have liked.

Those last years were more difficult as Smit slowly but surely started to disappear in the mist of vascular dementia finally finding full rest as he passed away quietly in his sleep just after midnight on Saturday, 1 May 2021.

Our prayers and sympathy go to the entire family. 


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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