John "Jack" Joseph Smith, Jr.
July 7, 1941 – June 4, 2020
John "Jack" Joseph Smith, Jr., of Alexandria, Virginia died peacefully at Virginia Hospital Center on Thursday, June 4, 2020. He was 78 years old.
Jack was born in Philadelphia, PA. He was the oldest of six children to parents John Smith and Jane (Martin) Smith of Philadelphia, PA. He is survived by his children, Jennifer (Smith) Heimbold of Homer, AK, Melanie (Smith) Inzunza of Alexandria, VA, and Ryan Smith of Baltimore, MD. He is also survived by his six grandchildren; Antonia (Toni), Jack, Finn, Riley, Lily and Kaelyn, and brothers, Richard Smith and Donald Smith of PA, and Martin Smith of MD.
Funeral and memorial services will be announced and held at a later date.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared for the Smith family at www.DemaineFuneralHomes.com.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
John "Jack" Joseph Smith, Jr.
June 25, 2020
Jack was a member of the Arlington Retired Teachers Association after his long years of teaching in Arlington School Public Schools. On behalf of the association, I extend our deepest sympathy to his brothers, children, and grandchildren as you grieve a life so well lived.
June 20, 2020
Jack was a person ready and willing to help, advise and instruct. He was hopeful, prayerful and had a great sense of humor. Many received his help and guidance. God receive him into the dwelling place prepared for him.
June 14, 2020
Jack was a very thoughtful and kind man. He was well loved and respected by all at St Mark. He and the family are in my prayers.
John J. Smith, Jr. Named after his father, you knew him as Mr. Smith, Brother Jack, Cousin Jack, Papa Jack, Uncle Jack, Geezer, Smitty, Pop-Pop, or just Jack. Respectively, he was a son, the oldest of six, a cousin, a father, an uncle, a friend, and a Pop-Pop to six grandchildren. He was also an educator, a counselor, a priest, a confidante, and a, "Like a dad to me." To me, he was Dad.
Dad was born and raised a son of Philadelphia. He was a graduate of Monsignor Bonner High School, as well as Villanova University, where he received a Bachelor in Arts degree. He attended Augustinian College in DC, where he received a Masters degree in Theology. Most may not know, but my father was once an ordained Catholic priest. He came to DC in his early 20's. Along the way, his life went in a different direction, but his faith never wavered, and he was a devout Catholic his entire life.
In the early 70's, along came the Smith family; my parents were married in 1969, and then came the Smith kids, Jennifer, Melanie, and Ryan. Dad taught sixth grade in Arlington County Public Schools for 30+ years. He was a member of the Bucknell Civic Association in our neighborhood, and you could definitely find him poolside for our swimming and diving meets at Little Hunting Park (LHP), where we literally spent our summers as kids.
Dad was also a local realtor in the area for several years, and even sold Avon at one point, "Many moons ago." Can you imagine NOT buying something from a guy with eyes like Paul Newman?! We always laughed that the ladies were probably using their last stash of Avon products right before Dad showed up to try and sell them more! As my Uncle Richard put it recently, he was a renaissance man.
With the exception of me going away to school for a few years, my dad has always been right around the corner; and he was definitely always IN my corner. He was the patriarch of the Smith family. And, he was an intelligent, kind, spunky, thoughtful, funny, strong, faithful, loving and gentle soul.
Dad was fortunate to have survived colon cancer, and was a 22 -year cancer survivor. He had quadruple bypass surgery, hip replacements, and other procedures over the years. He was the ultimate trooper through it all. I honestly don't know how he did it, he amazed me every day.
Dad was definitely a sports fanatic! It's where I get it from. I love that he got to see his Villanova Wildcats win the NCAA tournament, the Capitals win the Stanley Cup, and the Nationals win the World Series in the past few years. He was also a long-suffering Redskins fan, God love him! Bret said the other day, "At least he got to see them in their heyday." I said, "Yes, we'll always have the 80's." We laughed.
Dad was an avid golfer in retirement, who enjoyed golf outings over the years with many friends and family. Some of his fondest memories were of golf weekends with his brothers and cousins over the years, here in Front Royal, VA and, "Up the Poconos." And, undoubtedly one of his favorite places in the world to spend time was Grove Point on the Chesapeake Bay, where my grandparents retired. Even though we were going up from VA, it was always, "Down the bay." We spent time in the summer there with our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, crabbing, swimming, climbing the bluffs, playing board games and cards, family football games, you name it, he loved it all.
Dad was a faithful parishioner of St. Mark's Catholic Church in Vienna, VA for over 20 years. He was a beloved member of their church community. He assisted with homeless clothing drives, bake sales, delivering the Eucharist, and many additional causes that were important to him and to the church. He used to bring me items from the bake sales, and always made me laugh when he said, "That pie doesn't have any calories. Anything from the church bake sale is actually calorie free, so enjoy that!"
Dad was a lover of animals, especially his dogs over the years. He donated to the SPCA. He loved to watch the birds in his backyard, and let me tell you, you would be hard-pressed to visit his deck on Quander Road and not step all over a bunch of peanut shells that he scattered for the squirrels.
Quander Road. He loved that house. It's been a part of our family for 34 years. He didn't enjoy anything more than reading the paper while drinking a cup of coffee or two on his deck in the backyard. And, oh my word, if that house could tell family stories, it would be entertaining for sure! Dad had a big bay window on Quander that he could watch the goings-on from his seat at the head of the dining room table. And, he loved to antagonize whichever dog he had at the time with a, "Get 'em!," or, "Don't you let them get your food!," when he saw the pizza delivery driver coming up the sidewalk. You can just image the incessant barking.
Dad was a loving, funny, energetic parent when we were kids. He was firm, but fair. And we used to do a lot of fun things; sports, family game nights, playing board games, cards, and poker with pretzel sticks or nickel, penny. Remember that hand slapping game, where if you miss it's the other person's turn? Dad was REALLY good at that game! He used to say, "Fastest hands this side of the Monongahela!" For years I never realized that the Monongahela was a real thing, I just thought it was something corny Dad would say.
Dad celebrated all of our accomplishments, particularly in school. Whether academic or extra-curricular, he was always there to congratulate, and tell you how absolutely proud he was of you; both as a parent and a Pop-Pop. He was just as fun as a grandfather as he was as a father. He had six grands, two boys and four girls. He loved his grandchildren, and had a special, unique relationship with each one. The kids could always count on an, "Atta boy," or, "Atta girl," as encouragement and celebration of their group and individual achievements from their Pop-Pop.
I always thought it was funny that Dad never liked the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." The only character he did like in it was Clarence, the angel. He would call me at Christmastime every year at least one time, and say, "Your barfy movie is on." It always made me laugh. I mention it only to say, he may have disliked the movie, but the title sure describes how he lived and loved.
This is hard. I don't know how to do life without him yet. But I will keep looking for the cardinals from heaven, telling me he is happy and well. I will look for the lone butterfly in my flowers, because he gave me a butterfly magnet on my wedding day, hugged me, kissed me, told me he loved me, and said, "Butterflies are free." And, I will watch the rain, always knowing that he can see my pretty flowers from heaven, and wants to make them colorful for me, because he knows that will put a smile on my face. All the while knowing that so many times, rain brings rainbows, and the sun will always come out again. All of those things will lift my heavy heart.
Dad usually signed off of phone calls, not with goodbye, but with a, "Love you, take care." As it turns out, those were the last words he said to me when I spoke with him on his last day, and I treasure that. John J. Smith, Jr. My dear father. I can only hope to leave an impression on people and the small part of the world that I live in, the way that my father did. He will be forever loved and missed.
I love you, Dad. Take care. Butterflies are free!