John W. Smith, 82

Transportation manager

January 02, 2008

John W. Smith, a World War II veteran and retired transportation manager for a chemical company, died of complications of Alzheimer's disease Dec. 28 at Future Care Old Court in Randallstown. He was 82.

Born and raised in South Baltimore, Mr. Smith attended Polytechnic Institute, but World War II intervened before he could graduate.

At age 18, he entered the Army as a medical technician in 1943. Mr. Smith served primarily in France and returned home to Baltimore in 1945.

He married Dorothy C. Van Horn in 1948, shortly after the two met on a hayride. She had been smoking a cigarette that accidentally set the hay ablaze. They were married for six decades, according to their daughter, Shirley Devitt of Baltimore.

Mr. Smith worked at various companies as a manager of transportation and distribution divisions before landing a similar position with Alcolac Chemical Co. in 1977.

Mr. Smith served as president of Delta Nu Alpha Transportation Fraternity from 1979 to 1980 and was the group's Man of the Year in Transportation in 1983. He was also honored with a lifetime membership in the Traffic Club of Baltimore, his daughter said. He retired in 1987.

Mr. Smith and his wife attended many Baltimore Colts games and he remained an avid Orioles and Ravens fan in retirement.

"He went to heaven saying, `Fire [Ravens coach] Brian Billick,'" Ms. Devitt said.

He also enjoyed golfing and often traveled to Myrtle Beach with friends to play on courses in the South Carolina coastal town.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at St. Charles Catholic Church in Pikesville.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include a son, Brian C. Smith of Baltimore; another daughter, Colleen Gehret of Kutztown, Pa.; a sister, Linda Hanna of Baltimore; a brother, Paul Eckels of Beckley, W.Va.; and four grandsons.

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