John Kenneth Smith, of Irvine, was suddenly called home to be with the Lord on Monday, February 24, 2014. He was a devoted brother, husband, father to his daughter and was also a proud and loving “Grampy” to his grandchildren, whom he adored. The memory of his compassion, faith and love will live on in the hearts of his family and friends.
Jack, as he was called by many, was the fourth child in his family, born on December 27th to the late Leon and Mary Smith of McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He was proud of his Polish and Russian roots and spoke a bit of each language, in addition to the other five languages he spoke fluently.
He attended St. Mary’s seminary in Ohio, but one year from becoming a priest he heard the Lord giving him a different calling. He finished his education and teaching credential at Duquesne University in Pennsylvania. He studied at the University of Mexico City (UNAM) for a year before being recruited to teaching in California at Garden Grove High School for a few years and then La Quinta High School for the balance of his 40 dedicated years of teaching.
He married Georgina Ethelynne Foerst, and they proceeded to make their home in Irvine for the rest of their lives. He was a devoted father to his daughter Kathleen and attended countless soccer games, cheerleading competitions, and Mater Dei football and basketball games.
After retiring he became very involved with his parish St. John Neumann in Irvine; Isaiah House, a homeless shelter in Santa Ana; Second Harvest of OC; and Many Meals in Camarillo. He took every opportunity possible to help and educate others. His love for his family kept him busy travelling to Camarillo to visit and spend time with his grandchildren in recent years.
In the last year of his life he spent much of his time in Ventura County, reinforcing family love in his grandchildren after heartbreakingly losing his wife, their “Grammie,” the year prior. His family is so grateful for this blessed gift of time with him making very special and treasured memories together. St. Mary Magdalen Church and School were so welcoming and loving to him, as well as the community at Padre Serra during his trips to Camarillo. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, sharing special trips to the ice cream store with his grandchildren, giving books to others, and relishing the simple moments in life. He was a voracious reader and loved to go to the Friends of the Library on a regular basis.
Those left to cherish his memories are his brother Donald Smith and his lovely wife Dot from Pennsylvania; daughter Kathleen Mary; and his grandchildren Nicholas and Margaret Mary; His nephews Don, David and Rob; his niece Lynn Ovelman; his grandnieces; and his loving and plentiful Irish family he was adopted into when he married Georgina.
His family and many special friends will miss him dearly. They thank his loving family, friends, who shared many special times and made special memories with him throughout his life. They also appreciate and thank the faithful priests, faculty and dear friends from St. Mary Magdalen Church and School and Padre Serra Church in Camarillo who welcomed him with open arms and have showered him and the entire family with love and support.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, March 15th, at 10:00 a.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 5101 Alton Parkway, Irvine, California 92604. He will be laid to rest at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Culver City on Monday, March 17th at 11:00a.m.
A Mass of Remembrance will be held at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church on Friday, March 21st at 1:00 p.m. in the Chapel, 2532 Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo, California 93010.
Memorial donations may be made to Isaiah House in Santa Ana or to St. Mary Magdalen School in Camarillo.
Arrangements were made with the assistance of O’Connor Mortuary.