Obituary of Rev Francis Smith

Former parish priest of St Patrick's, Newton-le-Willows for 36 years, Father Frank Smith died on Thursday 19 May aged 92 and in his 68th year of priesthood.

James Francis Smith was born at Upholland on 21 July 1923, the son of Joseph and Gertrude Smith. He was educated at All Hallows, Roby Mill; St Cuthbert's, Pemberton; and St James', Orrell. He studied for the priesthood at St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw where he was ordained priest on 25 July 1948.

For 28 years following his ordination he served as assistant priest in the following parishes of the Archdiocese: St Gregory's, Chorley from September 1948; St Patrick's, Widnes from February 1953; St Stephen's, Warrington from September 1956; St Austin's, Thatto Heath from October 1962; St John's, Wigan from 1964; and St Joseph's, Chorley from April 1969.

In May 1976 Father Frank was appointed parish priest of St Patrick's, Newton-le-Willows, a place he would call home for almost the next 40 years. He eventually retired as parish priest at the end of November 2012, but continued to live in the presbytery in retirement. Only relatively recently had he moved into Cardinal Heenan House at Roby Mill, Upholland.

His older brother Kenneth also served as a priest of the Archdiocese from 1946 to his death in 2011.

Father Frank's funeral Mass was celebrated at St Patrick's Church, Newton-le-Willows, followed by his interment at Parbold.