Dennis Smith, Candidate for State House, District 59
Dennis was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After high school graduation, he enrolled in General Motors Institute and moved to Flint, where he met his wife Paula. They were married in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, a socially conscious congregation in the heart of Flint’s poorest neighborhoods. Following graduation from University of Michigan, Dennis taught physics at Northwestern High School in Flint, while Paula taught elementary school down the road. Their elder son, Timothy, was born while they were both teachers in Flint Schools.
Late, the Smith family moved to Dallas, Texas. Again, both Paula and Dennis were teachers in the Dallas and Plano school districts, respectively. Their younger son, Joshua, was born shortly after.
While serving as president of Ascension Lutheran Church in Garland, Texas, a scrappy congregation committed to social action on behalf of the poor, Dennis responded to the call to enter full time pastoral ministry and enrolled at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. In 2004, shortly after Paula and Dennis became residents of St. Joseph County, he accepted a call to serve Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church in Constantine. Dennis retired at the end of 2017. During thirty-two years of pastoral ministry, he has sought to carry on the commitment to serve others and protect rights that he first learned as a teacher and member of Holy Trinity in Flint. That is a commitment both Paula and Dennis now carry into the field of public service.