Obituary: Jack Smith
Veteran, father, CUSD administrator
Jack Marvin Smith died May 26, 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii with his wife Barbara and daughter Kelly at his side.
Jack was born May 19, 1928 in Portland, Oregon to Joe and Kathryn Smith. He was the oldest of three children, with two younger sisters, Connie and Shari, with whom he stayed close. Mr. Smith completed high school in Florence, Oregon before joining the Army, where he served two years in Korea and Manila, Philippines. During this time, he represented the United States in several track meets. After an honorable discharge, he enrolled at the University of Oregon to earn a bachelor degree in English, and a distinguished place on the school’s varsity track team, starting as a freshman.
It was at U of O where Mr. Smith met and fell in love with Barbara Burke. Jack and Barbara were married in June of 1953. He referred to their solstice wedding as “the longest day and shortest night.” The couple taught in The Dalles, Oregon, before moving to California and starting a family. They had two daughters, Leslie Kathryn and Kelly Lorraine.
After earning a master’s degree from Cal State Los Angeles and a doctorate in education from the University of La Verne, Mr. Smith worked as a teacher, assistant principal and district administrator in both the Pomona and Claremont school districts. He strived to assure that all children received full access to a fair education. His family describes him as a man of conviction, and one who always provided others the grace to make their own way.
Mr. Smith was honest, thoughtful and lived with great integrity, his family shared. Above all, he was a gentleman who had high expectations of himself, particularly in regard to taking care of his family.
Known as a wonderful conversationalist and poet, Mr. Smith was a passionate debater, who had a flair for finding the right thing to say at the right time.
Mr. Smith’s aptitude for sports and other physical activities continued throughout his life. He played tennis, golf and bowling, and loved camping, water and snow skiing as well as horseback riding. But outdoor activities weren’t his only interest; Mr. Smith also played bridge, loved to dance, was known to toil over jigsaw puzzles and even dabbled with Spanish and auto mechanics.
Regardless of what sport or interest consumed him at the time, boating was always a constant. He loved walking the docks and being on the water. Jack and Barbara spent many years together on lakes, channels, rivers and oceans.
Mr. Smith led an extraordinary and fulfilling life throughout his 89 years. His lasting and valued relationships with family and many friends were a testament to his character.
Mr. Smith was predeceased by his daughter Leslie. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara B. Smith; two sisters, Connie Nitschke (Eldon) and Shari Cochran (Bill); his daughter, Kelly Cross (Sean); four grandchildren, Arika Lawing, Loren Bailly (John), Matthew Bastin (Dawn) and Davis Cross; and two great grandchildren, Sean and Jackson Bailly.
In lieu of flowers, you may mail a donation to one of Jack’s favorite charities, Table of Plenty, at PO Box 22, Beaumont, CA, 92223. Services will be held at Weaver Mortuary, 1177 Beaumont Ave., Beaumont, CA, on Monday, June 26 at 11 a.m.