Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I rise today grateful to be on Algonquin Anishinaabeg territory to pay tribute to the life and legacy of a beloved figure from North Preston, Nova Scotia, Rev. Wallace Smith Sr., who passed away peacefully on October 3, 2023, at the age of 82.
Reverend Smith was a man of many talents and profound influence. His connection with faith and music shaped his journey. From the early 1960s to his retirement, he dedicated himself to music, leaving a significant mark on the gospel scene.
In the mid-1970s, guided by divine inspiration, he founded the Gospel Heirs, a group that had widespread admiration throughout Nova Scotia and Canada. This group captivated audiences for nearly three decades. Following this retirement, he continued to inspire as the lead singer of The Sanctified Brothers, another gospel group from North Preston. Reverend Smith’s musical skills earned him numerous accolades, including induction into the Rev. Dr. William P. Oliver Wall of Honour and receiving the African Nova Scotian Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
He served his community as a deacon and an assistant pastor, ultimately becoming the first ordained pastor from North Preston where he served for over twenty years, fondly known as “the people’s pastor.” During his tenure, the church flourished both spiritually and physically, impacting countless lives through his captivating ministries.
In addition to his spiritual guidance, he dealt with social issues impacting the community. As I reflected on his life, I was reminded of his work with the Association of Black Social Workers to help break the silence around violence in our communities. His unwavering commitment to the upbuilding of his community led his son, Wallace Jr., to call him “Superman.”
Honourable colleagues, as we remember Rev. Wallace Smith Sr., let us honour his life of service, love and devotion to God, family and community. His legacy will forever inspire us to strive for a well-lived life and to continue his mission of helping others along the way.
I thank his wife, Sister Frances, and family for sharing him with us.
Asante. Thank you.