August 20, 1925 - February 17, 2013 OKLAHOMA CITY Paul Eric Smedlund began worshiping His Savior face-to- face on Sunday, February 17. He was born August 20, 1925 in Chicago Heights, Illinois. His parents, Carl and Doris Smedlund, raised Eric, his two brothers, and sister in nearby Momence.After high school graduation in 1943, Eric joined the U.S. Navy and received his training in Farragut, Idaho, where he trained to be a signalman. He was first stationed in New Guinea, but much of his naval service was on board the U.S.S. Medusa, located in the Philippines and assigned to the seventh fleet. One notable message he transmitted to the fleet, via the yardarm blinkers, read "Germany unconditionally surrendered. No details." Eric earned the rank of Petty Officer Second Class, Signalman. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in April, 1946, and received four medals/campaign ribbons and one battle star.After the war Eric felt a call to go into Christian ministry, so he attended Bob Jones University in South Carolina. During the completion of his academic degree in English, religious education, public speaking and music, Eric also completed the four-year ministerial program.During his freshman year, he met the love of his life, Norma Jeanne Bender, who was from Oklahoma City. They married on December 24, 1948, and both graduated in the Spring of 1952. Eric and Jeanne enjoyed 61 very happy years together. Jeanne faithfully served alongside her husband in several churches: metro Oklahoma City (Metropolitan Baptist Church, Cashion Place Baptist, 40th Street Baptist, Immanuel Baptist, Countryside Fellowship, Community Bible Church); Tulsa (Sheridan Road Baptist); Baytown, Texas (Second Baptist) and Austin, Texas (Hyde Park Baptist). Eric served as Associate Pastor in the ministries of music, Christian education and outreach. During the last years of his ministry, Eric worked for the State of Oklahoma as a medical fraud and abuse investigator while he served churches on a volunteer or part-time basis.In his retirement years, Eric was eager to visit and welcome new people to the church and was constantly involved in encouraging and praying for people. He is considered a dear friend to many and is much loved by the people of Metropolitan Baptist Church, where he and Jeanne were long-time, faithful members.Eric's beloved Jeanne went to Glory in 2009. He is survived by the family he loved so much: son, Stephen Eric Smedlund (wife Juliana); son, Paul Michael Smedlund (wife Linda); and daughter, Julie Anne Smedlund; grandchildren, Emily (husband Mike), Jessica, Michael (wife Deana), and Jennifer (husband Paul); great-grandchildren, Eric, Pike, Hiatt, Rachael, Kayla and Aaron; in-laws, Larry and Janet Summerlin; and extended family, Debbie, Becky and Cindy.A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 23, at Metropolitan Baptist Church, 7201 W. Britton Road. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that gifts be designated in Eric's name to: The Slavic Gospel Association, 6151 Commonwealth Drive, Loves Park, IL 61111 (, an organization with which he has had a long affiliation.

Published in The Oklahoman on Feb. 21, 2013