John Smith passed away peacefully at home in Driftwood, TX on April 5, 2022 surrounded by his children after a long battle and a full life. John was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
John was born on April 11, 1935 in Milam county to Betty Jane (Hood) Smith and Coil Elbert Smith. He attended Sharp School, and graduated from Austin High. After high school John worked at various restaurants with his brothers J.L. and Edwin, the most memorable being Polar Ice Cream where he met his wife, Pat. John attended business school at Durham Business School and earned a job at the State Highway department. He started on the road crew, but quickly moved into a role as a contract buyer in the warehouse. John worked his way up the ladder and retired from the State in 1987.
John’s life revolved around his family; it brought him great joy when the kids, grandkids, or great-grandkids would come over for a visit. John was known to many as “Papa” and acted as father figure or grandfather-figure to many family and friends. One of John’s proudest accomplishments was that he fought for the rights of men to take their sick-time to care for their children. People from all over the state called to thank him for weeks. He loved swapping stories with friends and family and spending time together.
John faced many challenges during his lifetime, but was such a hard worker and always triumphed over the adversity. He had a love for nature, a respect for wildlife, and was an avid hunter and fisherman. Pat & John had a wide range of animals on their little piece of land: pot-belly pigs, show pigs, chickens, sheep, peacocks, guineas, and a pet axis deer named Bucky. He loved having chickens and fresh eggs so he could supply eggs for his family and community. John grew up as a farmer’s kid and loved to plant fresh vegetables and harvest his own crops. He was proud of his garden and John Deere tractor, and insisted on planting tomatoes, flowers, corn, and a large, full garden this year despite his declining health.
From his time working in restaurants, John loved to cook and always offered you a meal at his table and sent you home with leftovers or something from the freezer - you never left their house hungry. John was a great carpenter and described himself as a “Jack of all Trades” - there was not much he could not do. Even after his stroke, he didn’t slow down and did tremendous things from his power-wheelchair. As he aged, John continued to act as the foreman instructing his sons-in-law and grandchildren while working on a project. John enjoyed watching his Westerns and was a big fan of Gunsmoke, Hatari!, and anything with John Wayne.
John was preceded in death by his wife Pat Smith and his two sons-in-law: Billy Peters and Clay Cox. He is also joining his parents and siblings in heaven: Betty, Coil, Wilmer, Willard, Ollie “Sis”, Sam, Edwin, Cecil, Carlos, J.L., and Jesse.
John is survived by his four children: Pam Peters, Paula Bryant and husband Harvey, Dennis Smith and wife Kerry, and Penny Houston and husband David. John has eight grandchildren: Marta Black, Cari Peters, Ami Fromme, Adam Cox, CJ Sharp, Winston Smith, Clint Smith, and Alex Houston. John has 21 glorious great-grandchildren (plus one on the way) and many nieces and nephews who love him dearly.
The family would like to thank Dr. Geyer for his care over the last 15+ years, as well as Marcia with Austin Geratric Group, and Nancy and Bluebonnet Palliative Care for their excellent care and compassion.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 9 at 10:00am at the Pavillion of the Driftwood United Methodist Church, which is located across the street from the church (15090 FM150 W, Driftwood, TX 78619). Join the family for a meal and celebration of John’s life at the family home in Driftwood following the service.
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