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Earl was born and reared in Stockton California. The cycle of events in Earl’s life came to a head in 1975 when he was shot 6 times while living the life of a minor gangster. Although expected to die, Earl’s father’s faith, prayers, and love seemed to bring him through. The words of his father have motivated him, since that event, “you are a rebel, but you are God’s rebel, and God is going to use you to His glory.”

In 1983, at the age of 27, Earl became the youngest person ever hired as a Protestant Chaplain by the California Department of Corrections.

On April 21, 1992, Chaplain Smith served as the Lead Chaplain/ Spiritual Advisor to Robert Alton Harris. Robert was the first person executed in California since 1976. Being directly involved in the years, months, and days leading up to the execution, Chaplain Smith came away with some profound thoughts on the plight of the condemned; the need for ministry to the family members of the victims; and the need for pre and post spiritual counseling for the staff members assigned the task of carrying out the execution.

In 2000, Chaplain Smith was recognized as the “National Correctional Chaplain of the Year.

In May of 2015 Chaplain Smith’s first book, “Death Row Chaplain” was released.

In 2017, in response to the number of children represented by incarcerated males, and the alarming number of children who entered the correctional system, following in the footsteps of their fathers, (Concerned About Recovery Education (C.A.R.E.) was organized. The goal of this program is to break the cycle of incarceration. Realizing that incarceration is more than being confined in man-made facilities, C.A.R.E.’s aim is to break the bond of spiritual, emotional, sociological, environmental and generational incarceration and bring release to these areas of confinement, by sharing principles of Accountability, Integrity and Responsibility (A.I.R.).

Chaplain Smith currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Franklin Home, a Transition Living/Reentry Home for men. Chaplain Smith is the Team Pastor for the San Francisco 49ers’ and the Golden State Warriors. From 1998 to 2006 Chaplain Smith was the Chapel Leader for the San Francisco Giants. Chaplain Smith has ministered to teams playing in NFL Super Bowls, MLB World Series and NBA Championships.

Chaplain Smith has appeared on numerous broadcasts, including HBO, CNN, The 700 Club, Trinity Broadcasting Network and The History Channel. Earl has been featured in Christianity Today, Ebony, Guidepost, Ministry Today, Newsweek, People’s Weekly, The African Americans and Time.

In June of 2016, Earl was inducted into the African American Athletes Hall of Fame of San Joaquin County.

In 1977, Earl and Angel Michelle Anderson eloped and were married in secret. To their union four children and three granddaughters have been added: Ebony, Earl Jr., Tamara, Franklin; and Earl’s grandbabies, Jennisys Rene, Ember Skye, and Kamiyah Monika Michelle. 

Meet the Smith Family

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