John J. Smith, 83, of Battle Creek, Mich., passed away peacefully Sunday. April 8, 2012, at his home.
He was born Oct. 13, 1928, in Waynesfield, the son of Nellie and John Smith. On Oct. 20, 1951, he married Bernadette â€śBonnieâ€ť Christen, who preceded him in death in 2004.
He was a U.S Army veteran of World War II, and owned and operated Smith Brothers Tuck Pointers Inc., in Battle Creek for 52 years. He was a life-time member of the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers. His hobby of breeding and training sulky racehorses grew in size and respect as he competed at tracks in Chicago, Detroit, Jackson, and Swartz Creek. He was known not only for his horsemanship, but also for his kindness to his horses. John was an avid gardener, sports fan, and student of natural medicine.
Surviving are five daughters, Christena (Tim Birch) Smith, of Worcester, Mass., Laura (Greg) Smith, of Waynesfield, Barbara (Matthew) Merlihan-Sherwood, of Ceresco, Mich., Beverly K. Smith of Battle Creek, Mich., and Karen (Ray) Hale of Columbiaville, Mich.; a son, John C. Smith, of Grand Rapids, Mich.; two brothers, Roger Smith, of Lima, Morris Smith, of Marshall, Mich.; two sisters, Lois Leedy, of Lima, and JoAnn (Maurice) Duggins, of Waynesfield; and eight grandchildren, Nelle Smith, Claire (Jordan) Striff, Peter Smith, Boone Smith; Lindsay Merlihan, John Merlihan, Audrey Merlihan and Ben Clark.
He was preceded in death by siblings Dwight Smith, Bernard Smith, Merle Smith, Betty Smith, Ralph Smith and Carl Smith.
Services are at 1 p.m. Friday at Fort Custer National Cemetery, 15501 W. Dickman Road, Augusta, Mich.
Arrangements are being handled by the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home.