John Ralph Smith

April 5, 1939September 9, 2020

John was born in Akron, Ohio into a big jovial midwestern family with strong values of hard work, responsibility, love of God and the nurturing of all the children.

John's parents, Elva Ann and Wallace Leo, brought their son up with the care, love and encouragement that helped him to realize his potential. John had two older stepsisters, Wanda and Eleanor (no longer living) with whom he had great affection. He had a younger sister, Laura Blosser, who lives in Florida. Laura and her brother were very close.

John graduated from Florida State University in 1961. He always remained true to his Seminoles and loved celebrating their sports wins with his family and friends. In 1958 John and Adele entered into a long marriage characterized by fun, love, companionship, happiness and "seeing eye to eye." John's greatest joy was in his children. His son, Matthew John, was born in 1965 and his daughter Lauren Elizabeth was born in 1968. Matthew has two daughters, Olivia Joele and Caroline Macy. Those girls, from babyhood to adulthood brought another dimension of joy to their papa's life.

Adele says that the success of John and Adele's children is largely due to the influence, character and guidance of their dad. John led his children by example and always with tenderness and patience. Adele says that John was also very patient with her. She wonders what she will do when she needs for him to tell her the pronunciation of a German word or she's wanting the answer to a crossword puzzle clue.

John was in the banking business for 30 years and then made a career move to join the James Madison Institute and later to become the business manager of The School of Arts and Sciences. Both roles were in Tallahassee, Florida. There was success and immense personal satisfaction for John in all those areas. He used his talent for leadership, finance and management to make valuable contributions and made many enduring friendships.

John had a capacity for pleasure in life. He loved reading, history, family get-togethers, travel, college football, playing poker, western movies and music of all kinds. His music appreciation ranged from Willie Nelson country, 3 Dog Night rock to Wagnerian opera. It was music and the closeness of his family that sustained him when Parkinson's Disease increasingly made his life difficult.

Lauren inherited a passion for music from John and they spent many evenings together enjoying DVDs of varied selections. Genres and performers ranged from orchestral and operatic works, to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, to a documentary of studio session musicians (The Swampers in Muscle Shoals, Alabama), to the Berliner Philharmoniker performing Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” featuring The Marcus Roberts Trio. Lauren was deeply affected by this music and the sharing of it with John.

Matt would say his most treasured moments with John include dirt biking together in the 70’s, Saturday afternoons watching Bowden’s Seminoles, solving the world’s toughest crises over family dinners and learning not to count on hitting that inside straight. Most of all, Matt would say he learned that love of family is the most important thing in the world. This he learned from watching his dad be himself over their 55 years as father and son.

John is survived by his wife Adele Smith; his son Matthew Smith, his wife Cynthia and their daughters Olivia and Caroline; his daughter Lauren and her husband Michael Semeniuk; and his sister Laura and her husband Wayne Blosser.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


John Ralph Smith

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jim (James) Streem

September 28, 2020

I am the last living Monday night poker player from that legendary group,
You learn a lot about a person's personality during poker games and I can say unequivocally John stood apart from the rest. His quiet demeanor, respect for others, and overall warmth was unique. He enjoyed the admiration of everyone at the table, (needless to say very unusual at a poker club.) I'll never forget him.
I can only surmise John might have shared with you the night John and I had poker hands that must have been a million to one. It was seven card 'High - Low poker' (nothing wild) and with the seventh card John was holding a straight flush 9-10-J-Q-K of clubs and I was dealt a straight flush 2-3-4-5-6 of clubs. After a lot of friendly banter back and forth I was convinced John had me beat for high and John knew he couldn't go both ways so we split the pot. Not the kind of event one forgets.

Jim Streem


Learn more about the Smith name