SMYTHE, John Arthur
John A. Smythe was born April 9, 1924 in Calistoga, California to John and Lorraine Smythe and passed away peacefully in his Sacramento home on February 9, 2014 with his loving wife, Natalie by his side. In addition to his wife of 65 years, John leaves his three sons, John (Maggie), Gary (Nancy), Tom (Marsha) and his daughter, Annie Anderson (Colby). He also leaves ten grandchildren, his two sisters, Eunice Nelle of Florida and Sue Richardson of Illinois, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, George 'Bub' Smythe.
John spent the early years of his life on the family ranch outside Middletown in Lake County, California and later attended California Junior High School and Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento. He volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942 and served in the 1st Marine Division in the South Pacific where he engaged in combat operations as a scout infantryman on Guadalcanal Island followed by several beach landings until he was seriously wounded in the first wave of attack on Pelilieu Island in October of 1944.
After being discharged from the Marine Corps, John returned to Sacramento where he met and married the love of his life, the former Natalie Busch. He became the Service Manager of a Pontiac dealership that was then located at 16th and J Streets where he remained until 1957 when he went out on his own and became a Union Oil Dealer in the River Park community in East Sacramento. He ran this successful service station and garage for 27 years when he retired to his ranch near Laytonville in Mendocino County.
John was happiest when he was on his horse or his tractor on the ranch. While maintaining their family home in Sacramento, he and Natalie spent much of their time at the ranch where he built a home and raised cattle, hay and timber over the years. He enjoyed entertaining his kids and grandkids at the ranch where he took them on horseback rides and adventurous jeep rides where no man would dare to drive. He was an avid hunter and enjoyed taking the family on camping trips throughout California. John will be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather.
A celebration of life is planned for March 12 at 11:30 AM at the Dante Club, 2330 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Sacramento. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Wounded Warrior Project - www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Feb. 14, 2014