John Albert Smith, Jr., 81 of Peru passed away at 1:42 p.m., Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.
New Year’s Eve was made extra special on December 31, 1939, when John Albert Smith, Jr. was born to parents Nancy Julia Smith (nee Johnson), and John Albert Smith, Sr. John was born and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, and graduated from Western High School.
John enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1959, and his exceptional math skills landed him in Accounting and Finance, where he spent 20 years creating and managing multiple payroll systems for military personnel, contractors, and civilians throughout the U.S. and the world. While stationed in Thailand in the early seventies, his frustration with an antiquated civilian payment process inspired him to design a cutting-edge, computer-based payroll system, an effort which earned him the Bronze Star. After retiring as a Master Sergeant in 1979, John immediately became a “double dipper,” and spent the next 22 years as a civil service employee, doing the exact same job he retired from! When John was 14 years old, he got a job as a pinsetter and fell in love with bowling. Retirement allowed him to achieve many bowling awards as he competed in military bowling tournaments across the country each year. He won the Indiana State USBC Class A Singles Title, and in 2016 was inducted into the Miami County USBC Hall of Fame. In 2017 John was named Indiana’s Top Senior Bowler, though he often joked that he would rather have had perfect 300 game than another state title.
John is survived by the love of his life, his wife, Evelyn Brown Jackson Smith, who he married on August 18, 1972. Over the years, John and Evelyn enjoyed traveling to his bowling tournaments in places like Albuquerque, NM, Las Vegas, NV, Reno, NV, Syracuse, NY, and Baton Rouge, LA. Exploring casinos was a favorite pastime, and they loved attending family reunions in Owensboro, KY, Syracuse, NY, and Anniston, AL, spending as much time as possible with family and friends. John and Evelyn were true soul mates and best friends and were married 49 years to the day that he was called home by the Lord.
Loving stepfather to Edward A. Jackson, Sherry Jackson-Karr (Mark), Clarissia Jackson (Dennis Simpson), Dwayne Jackson, and special family friend, Willean Bowen. Adored big brother to sisters, Vittoria Tucker, Cecilia Butts (Gary), Nadine Murphy (William), and sister-in-law, Anna Smith. Beloved Papa to grandchildren Jeridan Jackson, Reid Jackson, McKenna Jackson, Delaney Jackson, and Baylie Jackson. Special uncle to Veronica Johnson, Lakisha Riley, Monica Butts, Gary Butts, Mariah Murphy, Moesha Murphy, Jennifer Smith, Nicole Smith, LaTanya Smith, Nedra Haygan (Stacey), Barry Smith, Jr., Gregory Smith (Kathy).
John is predeceased by his parents John Albert Smith, Sr. and Nancy Julia Smith Bland, his brothers Barry L. Smith and George A. Smith, stepmother Mary Elizabeth Smith, and stepfather Carl Bland.
The family of John and Evelyn Smith would like to acknowledge the ongoing kindness, love, and support of Monroe and Candace Alfrey, Pete and Mary Poppe, and Denny and Bev Cattin. We are forever grateful. We would also like to acknowledge the outstanding and compassionate care provided to our loved one by the staff at Dukes Memorial Hospital in Peru, and Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at Riverview Funeral Home, 421 W. Canal St., Peru. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.
Graveside services with military rites will be at 2:00 p.m. at Marion National Cemetery in Marion.
John’s online guest book is available and condolences can be shared at www.riverviewfhperu.com
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