John Marvin Smith

November 28, 1928January 13, 2021

John M. Smith Sr passed peacefully on 1/13/2021 at the age of 92.

John was born on November 28, 1928 in Graves County, Kentucky to C.B. and Edith Smith. He was the youngest of 3 siblings. The family moved to Pinconning, Michigan where John attended school and graduated in 1946. He attended Michigan State College earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Husbandry and a Master’s Degree in Dairy and Poultry Nutrition.

John met and married Jane Ellen Palmer while he attended Michigan State College. He and Jane operated their family dairy farm, where he taught work ethic and responsibility to his nine children. He continued to instill character in his children through farm chores and showing prize-winning cattle. John was active in the Michigan Holstein Association and Holstein USA, holding officer positions at the State and National level. He was active in community service being Mayor of Williamston from 1957-1961 and serving on the Williamston School Board.

John spent summers in his younger years showing and transporting dairy cattle via rail. His agricultural degree was actively used by helping his father, C.B. Smith at the Auction Pavilion in Williamston, Michigan where top National Holstein herds were auctioned. Later, John worked in sales at Farm Bureau and Harvestore silos. In 1984 he moved to Wapakoneta, OH where he worked for Ohio State University (OSU) as an Agricultural Extension Agent for 30 years, retiring at 85 years young. After retirement from OSU, one would rarely see John in anything other than his Scarlet and Gray attire and driving his red SUV with “MSU2OSU” license plate and OSU decals on the doors.

John was predeceased by his wife Jane, parents C.B. and Edith Smith, son Brian Craig Smith, infant grandson Derek Smith, sister and husband Jean (Smith) and Robert Wolf, brother and wife, C.B. (Sonny) and Grace Smith, and recent spouse, Norma Hunt (2013).

He is survived by eight of his nine children: Gary (Carol), Ron Smith, Jerry (Debbie), Kevin (Traci), Joy (Joe) McDevitt, John Jr. (Wendy), Dean (Janet), and Marc (Michelle). John is also survived by 24 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

John is lovingly remembered for being “Papa John” to his grandchildren, for his happy birthday songs for everyone, his legacy Christmas ornaments, and especially his “Papa John Fish Camp” which was held every summer for his grandchildren.

John was an active member of Dimondale United Methodist Church. Remembrances or donations may be made to the Dimondale United Methodist Church (6801 Creyts Rd, Dimondale, MI 48821) or Meals on Wheels/Tri County Office on Aging (5303 S. Cedar St., Building 1, Lansing, MI 48911).

The family of John M. Smith has scheduled a service for Saturday, June 19,2021 at 11:00am at Summit Cemetery in Williamston. Following the service, a Celebration of Life and visitation will be held beginning at 12:30pm at the Williamston Eagles Club, 835 High St, Williamston, MI.


  • Dimondale United Methodist Church
  • Meals on Wheels/Tri County Office on Aging


  • Graveside Service

    Saturday, June 19, 2021

  • Celebration of Life and Visitation

    Saturday, June 19, 2021


John Marvin Smith

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lois Clark

February 20, 2021

Our thoughts and prayers have been with your family. John truly loved his family and was so proud of each and everyone of you.

I loved reading about Papa John’s fish camp. You would all pile into the office and we would try to put names and faces together. We had heard stories about each and every one of you.

Treasurer your memories and know you were each loved in a very special way.

Cathy McCausland

January 22, 2021

To the family - So sorry to hear about your father passing. Think of you and your family every time I go past your old house on Beeman Road to go to the cemetery and would think about everyone and wonder where everyone was now. Take time to remember the many memories that have been made. My mom passed in June 2019 at age 96 - their generation had longevity that’s for sure. It will get easier. Again, blessings to you all and heaven gained a new angel.

Tory Gabriel

January 22, 2021

I had the pleasure of working with John at Ohio 4H Sea Camp on Kelleys Island for many years. He taught many kids about the basics and safety of boating, and a highlight of staff and campers was John's annual performance of "Accentuate the Positive" in front of the entire camp in the dining hall. I will miss sitting and catching up with John, especially about our fishing trips. My condolences to his family and Rest In Peace, John!

Beth Bogue

January 21, 2021

I am so sorry to hear of John's death. From where I sit, he was a very loving father and grandfather. I know the grandkids were all excited about going to Papa John's Fish Camp.

I am so grateful for the way John and all of you family embraced me into your family!

Love, Beth

Cheryle Syracuse

January 21, 2021

Sending much sympathy to John's family. My best memories are of John at Sea Camp for over 20 years. Sometimes I would only see him that one week a year, but so enjoyed knowing him. At camp, John was dedicated to teaching power boating and fishing. He personally enjoyed both (even though he couldn't swim). He was the perfect role model for the campers always wearing his life jacket. At the final lunch each year, John sang Accentuate the Positive ....with rave reviews! Great memories of a great man.

Keith Smith

January 20, 2021

I remember John as a very honest, hard working Extension Educator. Best to his family.

Carrie Sparks

January 20, 2021

John lived right around the corner from us in Dimondale (although, I did graduate from Williamston). We came to know OF him shortly after we moved here when my UofM fan husband saw the John’s Ohio State flag waving proudly on his flagpole, LOL. We came to KNOW John when he asked my husband to help with a few fix-it projects. My husband never ever mentioned he was a UofM fan to John. Anyone know is aware of the huge rivalry of both teams must know how hard that is! Haha.... my husband always spoke very highly of John despite the Buckeye connection 😎❤️ I would see John frequently walk near our home. He always had his walker and take a break once he reached the end of the roadway. Then, after a few minutes, he would get back up and continue his walk. There he was in his 90s walking and there I was at 48 telling everyone I’m not walking because my joints were sore. I eventually got off my duff and realized I had nothing to complain about. John was quite the inspiration in ways he probably never knew. God bless him and his family. My heart goes out to all of you. ❤️ ~~~Roger and Carrie Sparks

Gene McCluer

January 20, 2021

I was an Extension Educator in an adjoining county to John. We often worked together on educational programs and planning. I always looked forward to sharing time with John. Since my retirement, I have not seen or talked with John. Please know our thoughts are with you as you go through this difficult time of loss. Gene McCluer

Pat Holmes

January 18, 2021

John was a colleague in OSU Extension who I will always remember as the ANR Educator who came to my county fair to be sure I was ok one year when I was the only educator (FCS) in the county providing 4-H, ANR, FCS, and CD programming and resources with the help of volunteers. He didn't have to do this, but he did . . . . because he was John. He was ready to lend a hand however it was needed and for however long.

Cheryle Syracuse

January 17, 2021

Accentuate the Positive....Sea Camp 2011