J Lawton Smith Award Recipient

J Lawton Smith was one of the original founders of the COS.  He was globally well known as a neuroophthalmologist who was charismatic in practice and his faith!

The J Lawton Smith Award is given out each year at the COS Annual Meeting to an ophthalmologist who has shown a lifetime commmitment to serving the Lord through their personal practice of excellence in medicine, academic influence, and/or missionary dedication.

Trusted God despite trials and suffering




Award Year:

When the invitation came, Dad went forward, wearing his badge, not as a counselor, but as a seeker.

written by Dudley Benton (son of Curtis)

My dad was an outspoken atheist in college. He graduated summa cum from Berkley when there was only one such honor awarded. He moved on to Emory to study medicine in the days when professor of “religion” Thomas J. J. Altizer proclaimed, “God is dead!” Dad thought being involved in a prominent church might be good for his practice. He took on the challenge nobody else wanted: leading the college and career class. And so the atheist came to teach the largest Sunday school class at Park Temple in Ft. Lauderdale. They also made Dad a deacon. And then it happened… E. Stanley Jones, one of the greatest Wesleyan evangelists, came to town to hold something called a “revival” at Lockhart Stadium. Every Methodist church in the area was obliged to provide at least one “counselor”. Dad drew the short straw. [God has a sense of humor!] When the invitation came, Dad went forward, wearing his badge, not as a counselor, but as a seeker. 

Curtis was from south Florida and was one of the original founding members of the society with J Lawton Smith. He attended most of the early meetings of the society. He hosted the 17th annual meeting in Ft Lauderdale in 1993 with his wife Margaret. He was a very gentle, godly man who loved treating the poor in his community. He also loved to mentor young men in his later years, often of multiple races and ethnicities. He had a clever sense of humore, but truly was a soft spoken, spiritual man.

Curtis is described by Bill Jarret as being charming, very gentleman like and extremely “kind.” He and his wife Margaret were very gracious. They had suffered through some really tough circumstancees and hence were compassionate and they were patient. They knew to trust the Lord for all. They had the patient endurance that mature believers achieve, if especially trusting the Lord and living life fully.

Curtis passed away at age 93 after retiring to Knoxville, TN on July 17th, 2014. He had been married to his wife, Margaret, for 65 years.

JLS Award Recipients

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