Everyone at Cowsmo would like to send their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of John.
John M. Smith Sr passed peacefully on 1/13/2021 at the age of 92.
John was born on November 28, 1928 in Graves County, Kentucky to C.B. and Edith Smith. He was the youngest of 3 siblings. The family moved to Pinconning, Michigan where John attended school and graduated in 1946. He attended Michigan State College earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Husbandry and a Master’s Degree in Dairy and Poultry Nutrition.
John met and married Jane Ellen Palmer while he attended Michigan State College. He and Jane operated their family dairy farm, where he taught work ethic and responsibility to his nine children. He continued to instill character in his children through farm chores and showing prize-winning cattle.
John was active in the Michigan Holstein Association and Holstein USA, holding officer positions at the State and National level. He was active in community service being Mayor of Williamston from 1957-1961 and serving on the Williamston School Board.
John spent summers in his younger years showing and transporting dairy cattle via rail. His agricultural degree was actively used by helping his father, C.B. Smith at the Auction Pavilion in Williamston, Michigan where top National Holstein herds were auctioned. Later, John worked in sales at Farm Bureau and Harvestore silos. In 1984 he moved to Wapakoneta, OH where he worked for Ohio State University (OSU) as an Agricultural Extension Agent for 30 years, retiring at 85 years young. After retirement from OSU, one would rarely see John in anything other than his Scarlet and Gray attire and driving his red SUV with “MSU2OSU” license plate and OSU decals on the doors.
John was predeceased by his wife Jane, parents C.B. and Edith Smith, son Brian Craig Smith, infant grandson Derek Smith, sister and husband Jean (Smith) and Robert Wolf, brother and wife, C.B. (Sonny) and Grace Smith, and recent spouse, Norma Hunt (2013).
He is survived by eight of his nine children: Gary (Carol), Ron Smith, Jerry (Debbie), Kevin (Traci), Joy (Joe) McDevitt, John Jr. (Wendy), Dean (Janet), and Marc (Michelle). John is also survived by 24 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
John is lovingly remembered for being “Papa John” to his grandchildren, for his happy birthday songs for everyone, his legacy Christmas ornaments, and especially his “Papa John Fish Camp” which was held every summer for his grandchildren.
John was an active member of Dimondale United Methodist Church. Remembrances or donations may be made to the Dimondale United Methodist Church (6801 Creyts Rd, Dimondale, MI 48821) or Meals on Wheels/Tri County Office on Aging (530 S. Cedar St., Building 1, Lansing, MI 48991).
Memorial services will be scheduled in the future. Online condolences may be expressed here.