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ELYRIA - Jack passed away Friday morning, August 10, 2012, in the comfort of his home surrounded by family and his long-time love, Jean Sorton. Born on March 16, 1927 in Elyria, Ohio, Jack was 85 years old when he lost a courageous battle with cancer.
He is survived by his brother, Dr. Thomas Smith of North Carolina, and his sister, Harriett "Jane" Smith of Washington, D.C., niece, Stacy Shields of Washington State, and nephews, David and Fallen Smith of Michigan.
He is preceded in death by his son, Gerald "Jerry" Smith, his father, the late Pierre R. Smith, his mother, Ethyl nee Snyder, and his aunt Geraldine N. Smith. Jack graduated from Elyria High in 1944 and went on to Oberlin College where he majored in Chemistry/Zoology. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a Surgical Technician. Upon arriving home from the war, he joined the family business, Pierre R. Smith & Co. Inc., an Elyria based investment firm founded in 1924. Jack spent his working career helping others to invest wisely and invest in our country. Jack had an incredible love of life and a zest for knowledge that was contagious; one couldn't help but want to know what that bird is sitting on the windowsill or is this mushroom growing in my yard edible? Jack loved life, nature and gardening and was known for his award winning dahlias. Jack had such a curiosity and enthusiasm, almost a scholar-like quality, and wanted to share his knowledge with anyone who might be interested. He also dearly loved to play chess with anyone brave enough to challenge him. Jack spent his entire life giving his support, resources and knowledge to organizations he believed in. A Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow with District 6600, Club 3473 since 1957, Jack co-founded Black River Audubon Society in 1958. Some of his most beloved projects included Audubon Adventures which educated children on the beauty and importance of wildlife, ecology, and conservation and the Bluebird Trail Program where he would organize a group of volunteers to build Bluebird boxes. Jack and his band of merry men and women built over 500 Bluebird boxes in the history of the program. He was also past-President of Audubon Ohio; member of the Ohio Mushroom Society and the Lorain County Beekeepers Association. Jack was a life-time member of Black Swamp Bird Observatory; National Audubon Society; the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a Trustee Emeritus for the Lorain County Historical Society; Board Member and Advisor for Western Reserve Land Conservancy since 2000; served on the Investment Committee for Elyria Memorial Hospital and Oberlin College Alumni Association. Jack loved the City of Elyria and recently donated two-acres of property along the Black River to be developed into a park for area residents. The park is located on West Bridge St. and will be named the Black River Audubon Society Park.
A friend of Jack's said; "Most of us come into this life and make a difference in the lives of a small few but Jack definitely left this world better for many!" A friend, mentor and teacher to all those who knew him, Jack will be profoundly missed.
A celebration honoring Jack's life and legacy will be held on August 18th , 2012 from 1-4pm at The Hickories, 509 Washington Ave., Elyria, OH.
In lieu of flowers, Jack would be pleased to have donations made to Black River Audubon Society,
5333 Meadow Lane, Elyria, OH 44035.
Published in The Morning Journal on Aug. 14, 2012