Jack was an devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Jack was dedicated to the Baha’I Faith and was a true friend to many. He passed away peacefully on June 27, 2019 at the age of 92. He was born Jaques Lindbergh Smith, on March 10, 1927 in Baltimore Maryland, en route to Venice California where he grew up enjoying the beach life. At just 15 years old, he left home to join the U.S. Navy. Jack was introduced to Grayce Carter, the love of his life, in 1947 at their friend’s wedding. Jack and Grayce were married that same year and raised three beautiful daughters, Anita, Debra and Monica. During Jack’s distinguished career in the Navy, he was recognized for several achievements during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. He was awarded more than six Good Conduct medal’s and The Bronze Star for “Meritorious Service”. A nomination letter from his division officer read in part: “His personal appearance, military bearing, leadership, conduct and organizational ability are exemplary”. He was eventually promoted to the prestigious rank of Master Chief. He and his family settled in Escondido California where he retired from the Navy in 1972.
After retiring, Jack dedicated himself to serving his community. While working at San Diego Glass and Paint for the next 20 years, he was actively involved in service organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Interfaith, and the Kiwanis Club. Jack was a fixture at every Farmers Market for many years selling ice cream for the various causes the Kiwanis Club supported. He remained an active member of the Kiwanis Club for over 25 years and received recognition from Kiwanis International who welcomed him into their Legion of Honor. Jack also received an award from the city of Escondido in recognition of his “many years of unselfish contribution“ and after MCing many of the parades, he had the honor of being appointed as one of the Grand Marshals in the Escondido Grape Day Parade. While Jack was helping with a Special Olympics event, the City of Escondido surprised him with a “ Jack Smith Day”. At the age of 60 Jack went to work for H. Johnson furniture where he thrived for the next 20 years, finally retiring in 2007 at the age of 80.
Jack was also a true football fan; always counting down the days to the first game of the season. His loyalty never wavered from the San Diego Chargers, even when they relocated to Los Angeles. He would say, “I don’t care if they play on the moon!“, with his usual boisterous laugh.
Jack not only loved his own life but loved life in general. He was always in the best of spirits; laughing with gusto, loving all of us, and giving thanks for every moment. Despite the effects of aging, he was genuinely appreciative of little things like a warm bowl of chili, a nice breeze, or his favorite chargers T-shirt. He loved making his garden beautiful and spent many peaceful hours nurturing it. He passionately loved all his many dogs and kitties, and they loved him! His greatest love was his wife Grayce, who he dotingly called “my Beautiful Bride.” To the end her well being was always his first thought. Jack and Grayce truly adored each other and were happily married for nearly 72 years.
Donning a uniform, a tuxedo, or a white T-shirt with pajama pants, no one looked more polished or stood as straight as Jack Smith. He shaved religiously every morning and the inviting smell of his shaving cream made him irresistible to hug! And at 92 he still gave a quite strong, firm handshake!
His deep, echoing voice filled every room with joy and positive energy. His laughter was infectious; resonant and full of love and sincerity. His patience, wisdom and generosity will never be forgotten. When you hear the word “gentleman”, he will always come to mind. We will all miss his larger-than-life presence. His gentle soul touched every one of us.
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