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John J. Smolen Jr.

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John J. Smolen, Jr., 59, died at his home in Washington Township, NJ, on Friday, (September 28, 2001) from complications of cancer. Mr. Smolen was associate vice provost for University Life at the University of Pennsylvania. A native of Unionville, Mr. Smolen earned a scholarship to the University of Hartford to play baseball and basketball. He continued to play post-college basketball for a team originating in New England. He received his MBA from the University of Hartford in 1972. Devoting his life to higher education, Mr. Smolen served as registrar at the University of Hartford from February, 1970 to July, 1975. Because of his passion for teaching, he also was a faculty member, teaching semester courses as time permitted. Mr. Smolen continued his work in higher education as university registrar at Virginia Commonwealth University from August, 1975 to August, 1981 before coming to the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Smolen was most proud of having implemented SRS, the Student Record System, having standardized student records as well as implementing the central classroom renovation program at Penn. Mr. Smolen also was committed to enriching the lives of the youth in Washington Township, NJ, through athletics. He coached Little League and Babe Ruth baseball as well as intramural and travel basketball. Mr. Smolen was famed for instilling confidence and discipline in the young men he coached and for leading them to championship games each season. He also counted among his rewards having led the township's 1995 ten year old team to become the first in the town's history to win the District 4 title and advance to the State games where they placed fourth. The young men whose lives he touched recently paid their respect to Mr. Smolen for his influence in their lives by sending get-well greetings through a touching video. Mr. Smolen is survived by his wife of 20 years, Marilyn; sons, Trevor, and Kevin and his wife Sandra; daughter, Tracey; mother, Alyce; sister, Marilou Machingo and her husband Joe; sisters-in-law, Janet Collier and her husband Robert, Sharon Anderton, Courteney Morris, and Peggy Kowar and her husband Kevin; grandsons, Daniel and Benjamin; granddaughter, Giselle; nephews, Quentin, Kristofer and Kyle; and nieces, Jill, Chrissy, Taryn and Mallory. A Tribute Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, October 3. The family will receive friends at 6 p.m., with the service following at 7 p.m., at the McGuinness Funeral Home, 573 Egg Harbor Road, Washington Township, NJ. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1851 Old Cuthbeth Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08034, Alzheimer's Disease Foundation, 325 Chestnut St., Suite 1120, Philadelphia, PA 19106 or Samaritan Hospice, 5 Eves Dr., Suite 300, Marlton, NJ 08053.
Published in The Hartford Courant on Oct. 2, 2001
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