John L. “Jack” Smith
May 24, 1935 - June 6, 2020
SOUTH BEND, IN - John L. “Jack” Smith, 85, of South Bend passed away at 12:25 AM Saturday, June 6 in Memorial Hospital from complications of Parkinson's disease. Jack was born May 24, 1935 in Sandusky, Ohio to the late Beatrice M. (Myers) and John G. Smith and had lived in South Bend since 1960, coming from Sandusky. On September 14, 1957 in Sandusky, he married Patricia A. McMahon who survives. He is also survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Smith of Robbins, Illinois; one son, J. Christopher Smith (Pamela); three grandchildren, Tradd Matthew Smith, Ailsa Rose Smith, and Aisling Grace Smith; and one sister, Cheryl Boughton (Roger) of Austin, Minnesota. Jack was preceded in death by his beloved son and best friend, Matthew J. Smith; a sister, Mary Ward; and his brother, his pal, Robert Smith.
Jack also leaves behind many nieces and nephews whom he loved as his own. Special thanks to Amy Fluck, Jennifer Trusdell, and James McMahon, all of whom consoled their Uncle Jack through a sad time in his life. All our gratitude to his friends to the end, Mark Canfield, Anne, and Jan.
As a boy, Jack worked alongside his parents raising and showing dogs from their Jon-Bea Kennels. This experience led to his winning at the age of 12, the National Junior Dog Handler Championship at Madison Square Garden with his champion dog Kazar, an Afghan hound.
The seeds for public service and politics were planted when he was appointed to be a delegate to Buckeye Boys State as a senior at Sandusky High School.
Jack graduated from Bowling Green State University In 1958 with a degree in journalism. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
He is remembered at BGSU for acquiring the Victory Bell which is still in use today at all home football games.
A political kind of guy, Jack served on the Saint Joseph County Election Board, was the Republican City Chairman and a member of the Transpo Board. He served as a Citizen Member of two Common Council Boards until his declining health prevented it.
Local and Indiana history held a deep interest for Jack. He joined Southhold after seeing many of South Bend's beautiful old homes being torn down, especially The South Bend Conservatory of Music and one of the Kamm homes In Mishawaka.
Along with B. Patrick Bauer-D, Jack went to work to get a Historic Preservation Law passed for the state of Indiana. After that, the Historic Preservation commission was established in South Bend with Jack as its Chairman. He also served as the president of Southhold Restorations and served on the Studebaker Museum Board.
Jack's life's work was preserving 19th C. period images of Abraham Lincoln. In 2000, The History Museum mounted a major exhibition, Picturing Lincoln, using part of his collection of an exceptional variety of 750 images. Jack loved sharing his collection. He and Dave Bainbrdge, museum curator, arranged to borrow The Gettysburg Address in Lincoln's hand, the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln, and personal items such as Mary's wedding skirt and Lincoln's shaving mirror.
Soon after, thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., The Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis acquired his collection naming it The Faces of Lincoln from the Jack Smith Lincoln Graphics Collection. It resides there today.
Harold Holzer, noted Lincoln scholar, wrote a very informative book, Abraham Lincoln as Portrayed in the Collection of the Indiana Historical Society featuring Jack's collection.
Jack's more recent collection is currently on display at the Studebaker National Museum.
Jack was a Commissioner of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, a member of the Indiana Historical Society serving on the Board of Trustees Collections Committee, The Lincoln Forum, The Abraham Lincoln Association, Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana, Inc., and the Watchorn Lincoln Memorial Association. He was awarded a lifetime membership from the History Museum in 2003. He was active in The Near West Side Neighborhood Organization until recently.
Two of Jack's proudest achievements were being presented with the highest civilian awards from both Indiana and Illinois bestowed by a governor to those who have made a significant contribution to life in those states. In 2008, The Sagamore of the Wabash was a surprise presentation at the Studebaker Museum made by Pat Bauer representing Mitch Daniels. In 2009, Jack was inducted into the Bicentennial Order of Lincoln as a Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
Jack started his business, Design Packaging, a corrugated box company, in 1966 with two friends. He later bought out his partners.
Tennis was his game, which he sometimes played five times a week. The always kind but always competitive men of MADFATS had a special place in his heart. Naturally, he loved ND sports but nothing equaled his love for the Green Bay Packers. He was proud to own one share of stock!
He loved spending time at the Culver house where he could see Chris and Matthew on parade and follow their ice hockey, tennis games and track meets on weekends. After their sons graduated, Pat and Jack enjoyed traveling and finding treasures for her antique shop. Pat and Jack spent many happy times in Charleston, SC at their home on the shore sharing it with Matt's classmates from The Citadel, friends, and extended family. He was a gentle man of great humor, faith, love and industriousness. It was a great life!
“In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cathedral of Saint James Episcopal Church, 115 N. Lafayette Blvd., South Bend, IN 46601. Welsheimer Family Funeral Home, 521 North Williams St. is assisting the family with arrangements. Family and friends may leave private condolences at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com