Henry "Smetz" Blitch, Jr.
July 30, 1939 – July 7, 2022 Credit: Lori Grice

Henry “Smets” Blitch, Jr. of Statesboro, Georgia, passed away at his home in Bixby, Oklahoma, on July 7, 2022, at the age of 82. He was born in Savannah, Georgia, on July 30, 1939, and was the youngest son of Josie Helen Mathews and Henry Smets Blitch, Sr.

Smets spent the first few years of his life in Savannah until his father moved the family back to Statesboro in 1943 to farm Blitch Place Farms. Smets spent the remaining years of his childhood in Statesboro. 

During these years, he developed a great love for playing the piano and became quite accomplished. After graduating from Statesboro High School in 1957, he went on to earn a Batchelor of Science in Industrial Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1961. During his years at Georgia Tech, he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, served for four years on the Executive Roundtable, and was also involved with the Baptist Student Union on campus.

Following college, Smets worked as an industrial engineer for RJ Reynolds Company both in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and in Thessaloniki, Greece. When he returned from working overseas, Smets met the love of his life, Joanna Jones Blitch, of Asheville, North Carolina, while they were both working at RJR in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  They were married in 1967 and remained in Winston Salem until Smets moved his family back to Statesboro in 1978 where he joined his brother and father at Blitch Place Farms.  Smets co-owned and operated Blitch Place Farms, a five-generation diversified farm in Bulloch County, Georgia, which was founded in 1896.  He worked the farm with his father, brother, and later his nephew, Matt.

Statesboro is where Smets and Joanna built their lives and raised two daughters, Catherine and Elizabeth.  He was a member and elder of New Covenant Church in Statesboro, where he played the piano most Sunday mornings.  Later, he became the administrative pastor when he retired from farming in 1989.  He also helped found a Full Gospel Business Men’s chapter in Statesboro, and served as the President for many years, while also serving the organization as a Field Representative, and later on as an International Director as well.

In 1994, Smets and Joanna, and their daughters moved from Statesboro to their family’s vacation home of many years in St. Augustine, Florida, where he became the Principal of Trinity Chapel Christian School.

In 1999, Smets and Joanna, along with their daughter, Catherine, moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they attended Rhema Bible Training Center and graduated in 2001.  In 2002, he graduated from the Rhema School of Worship, and in 2003 graduated yet again from the Rhema School of Pastoral Ministry.  For many years, Smets and Joanna loved serving on the prayer and altar care teams at their church.  During his years in Oklahoma, he has also served as a board member for Russ Adams Ministries and The Glass Chapel.

Smets had a heart for missions and a love of travel.  He and Joanna traveled on many mission trips around the world including Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Spain, and Italy.  Oklahoma remained their home base for their travels, but they split time in St. Augustine, Florida, where they could easily visit their east coast family in Statesboro and on St. Simons Island.

Smets was preceded in death by his mother Josie Helen Blitch, his father Henry Smets Blitch, Sr., his brother James Mathews Blitch, Sr., and his nephew Benny Aaron Smith.

Smets is survived by Joanna Jones Blitch, his loving wife of 55 years, and his beloved daughters and their spouses all whom he loved dearly, Catherine Blitch Roberts and Todd Vincent Roberts of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Elizabeth Blitch Veal and Daniel Dorsey Veal of St. Simons Island, Georgia, as well as four grandchildren: Madison Elizabeth Veal, Daniel “Luke” Veal, Caroline Grace Roberts, and Jonathan Seth Christian Roberts. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Patricia Brannen Blitch, the wife of his only brother, the late James Mathews Blitch, Sr., as well as his dear nieces, nephew, and their families: Susan Blitch Bozeman, Jo Helen Blitch Propes, James Mathews Blitch, Jr., and Patricia Blitch Harris. As well as, his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Linda Jones Rice and Douglas Melton Rice, Janice Jones Smith, and James William Hill, and dear nieces and nephews and their families: Daniel Nathan Rice, James Matthew Smith, Steven Paul Smith, Cynthia Smith Harper, Dana Hill Thomas, Ashley Hill Plemmons, and Cody William Hill.

Smets was blessed to have many dear friends all over the country whom he treasured.  He was a wonderful husband, a loving father and grandfather who adored all his grandchildren, and a fine friend to many.   He was an amazing example of Jesus Christ to his family who loved him dearly and will hold his memory forever in their hearts.

A memorial service will be held on August 2, 2022, at 3 PM with a visitation reception to follow.  

The Glass Chapel
1401 West Washington St South
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, 74012

A private family burial will take place on August 3, 2022, at 10 AM.

Memorial Park Cemetery
5111 S. Memorial Drive 
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74145

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Smets’ memory to the following organizations:

The Glass Chapel https://churchatglasschapel.com/give/

Rhema Bible Training Center https://events.rhema.org/give/

Sunday Sessions International https://ssi.church/giving/