John T. Smith


January 31, 1947 – June 2, 2021


image of John T. Smith

John T. Smith

“It’s been a great ride,” were the words spoken a month before John’s passing. He enjoyed raising a family, tinkering with technology, travelling and playing golf. John died on June 2 with complications from cancer.

He was born on January 31, 1947 in Hialeah, Fl to Francis and Gladys Smith. Having a Navy father, the family moved all over the United States. John graduated from Kearny High School in San Diego. After graduation, he moved up to join the rest of the family in Bellevue, WA. He enlisted in the Air Force and was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant (E-5) while in Great Falls, Montana.

John entered Western Washington State College and graduated with Math and Computer Science. He went to work at System Services of Snohomish County for three years. The midwest appeal drew him to Cutler Williams, Rockwell International and American Motors where his new friends introduced him to brats and regional cooking.

When John returned to Bellevue, he went to work at the Bon Marche, and subsequently at Pacific Northwest Bell (PNB). He continued to work at PNB/US West/Qwest for another 24 years, and then a few more years for IBM. Technology and education were important to him; he received his MBA from City University in 1989 and a certificate in data communications from the University of Washington extension in 1995.

John met his wife, Kathryn, while at PNB. They married in 1981. Travel was an integral part of their marriage. John introduced Kathryn to ski trips; they enjoyed trips to Whistler and Utah. Kathryn took John to Japan to visit relatives and see the sights. He wasn’t too sure of sushi nor the fast pace of driving in the narrow streets of Tokyo. As long as Kathryn could read the menu and the food was hot and cooked, John enjoyed the variety of ramen, katsu and donburi entrees. After hearing how friends toured through Europe economically, John and Kathryn planned their 2 week vacation in Europe. From seeing the magnificent Neuschwanstein castle to attending Oktoberfest in Munich, the backpackers hauled fifteen to twenty pounds on their backs and loved every minute of it.

Fatherhood came naturally to John. John was a fun dad – playing hide and seek in clothing racks at the stores, or playing tag through the kitchen, where John would surprise Brian by hiding under the kitchen table. They enrolled in baby swim lessons – John’s desire was to have his son enjoy water while Brian’s was to gnaw on the plastic whale and keep away from the instructor. John took his son on a few cub scout trips to Camp Brinkley. Brian took full advantage of his dad passing the swim test in glacially cold waters. They would go on canoe rides in the lake.

When John retired in 2005, it gave him time to pursue golf. He was synonymous with senior discount tee times at Maplewood and Jefferson Golf Courses. With the Ducks League, John had the opportunity to play at various golf courses around Puget Sound. During the annual migratory, he enjoyed traveling to Whistler and Kelowna, BC, Bend, OR, Walla Walla and Spokane, WA.

Another of John’s passions was travel. A couple of his favorite places were Arizona and Hawaii. Going to Arizona provided two opportunities – watching spring training and playing golf. In Hawaii, John would take every chance to catch sunset photos. After hearing about the beautiful night sky above Maui, we drove up to Haleakala National Park. Genealogy would take him to Australia, where his mother was born. Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, kangaroos, koalas, and “no worries.” But, his ultimate trip was being at the Masters in Augusta. Amen corner, azaleas, and treasures – the spectator’s guide to Augusta and the prized beer cups!

His goal in his latter years was to keep cancer at bay so he could watch his granddaughter grow up.

John is survived by his wife of 40 years, Kathryn, son Brian (Megan), and granddaughter, Naomi. He is also survived by brothers, Bob (Jennifer) and Dave, and sister JoAnn (Mike) Ray. His nephews and nieces: Jeff, Karrie, Ashley, Katie and Nick (Aimee) as well as 3 grandnieces and 1 grandnephew.

A private celebration of life was held at Sunset Hills Memorial Park in June. Those wishing to honor his memory may donate on his behalf to Northwest Harvest, P.O. Box 12272, Seattle, WA 98102 or First Tee of Greater Seattle, P.O. Box 31020, Seattle, WA 98103.

24 Responses to “John T. Smith”

  • John H Boyce says:

    So very sorry to hear today of John’s passing in June. He was one of the nicest gentlemen I ever had the pleasure to meet. Will always remember his smile. My most sincere condolences to Kathryn and Brian and all the family.

  • Richard O’Neal says:

    So sorry to hear of John’s passing. I enjoyed his friendship very much. We worked together at PNB/US WEST/Qwest/Century Link and shared a love for golf. We played together in the DGA golf league and also managed to fulfill our mutual dream of attending The Masters golf tournament.

    I will always carry a memory of John fondly. Condolences to Kathryn and his family.

  • Judi Trotter says:

    I always enjoyed working with John. He was so generous to let others rent his unit in Whistler. I’ll always remember his smile. I’m pretty sure that is a smile that Kathryn and other family will miss daily. My thoughts are with them.

  • Lynn Atkinson says:

    Hi Kathryn and Brian ~ I’m so sorry! I was just thinking of the three of you, not long ago. I was the Admin. Tech., for 4W, from 1994-2004. I have good memories, of that time. John’s desk was down the isle, from me. I’m glad you got to do all those trips together ~ sounds like an exciting retirement. Congratulations to Brian and his wife, on the birth of their little girl and you and John on becoming grandparents. I’m glad he was able to enjoy her, for a little while❤️.

  • Anthony Hanson says:

    I also worked with John at PNB/U S WEST/Qwest and occasionally played in the same foursome with him in the DGA golf league. I’m so sorry to hear of John’s passing.

  • Dave Manahan says:

    Smiles galore; the IT arena was better with John around. Trusted co-worker, good golfer and a decent bowler. Fond memories of good times.

  • Michael Maas says:

    I knew John from PNB/U S West/Qwest. I spent a lot of time renting his place at Whistler. John was a very generous person and always had a smile on his face. Sorry to hear he is no longer with us.

  • Paul McPherson says:

    No words could adequately describe what a great guy John was. The world is at a loss to miss his smile and always cheerful demeanor. I am so sorry Kathryn. My prayers are with you.

  • Dave Keeney says:

    Sorry to hear this.
    I enjoyed John very much and we had lots of good times together.
    We were together most of our PNB-USWEST-QUEST careers.
    I’m sure he’s still swinging the clubs, just in a happier place now.

  • Bob Anderson says:

    I’ve known John for we’ll over 30 years as a friend, colleague, golf partner and amateur investment consultant. It was a shock to learn of his passing.
    As the consummate gentleman, John was a cheerful jokester and a reliable technical advisor. He loved to talk about family, travels and his latest round of golf.
    We will miss him greatly in the Duck Golf Association.

  • John W Johnson says:

    JT was a wonderful and generous person to both work with and to know away from work. He always made you feel comfortable at work by sharing his knowledge readily. My daughters and I are grateful for all of the Mid-Winter and Spring break ski trips to Whistler he made possible by graciously sharing his Condo.
    Kathryn, I am so sorry for your loss, you and your family are in my prayers.

  • J Totura says:

    I will not forget his radiant kindness, farewell old friend…

  • Celeste Locklin says:

    I didn’t know John well, but he was one of the kindest people at USWest. He lit up the room. Sad to hear of his passing, sincerest condolences to his family.

  • David Hardy says:

    I had the pleasure to meet John last year. We played together in two Duck Golf tournaments, in Bellingham and then again in Snohomish. We talked about the usual, where each other lived, working or retired, kids and grandchildren. John’s obituary identifies a very active and fulfilling life.

    I remember getting the announcement last year at the end of our season that last year would be his last playing with the Ducks,

    Recently I was thinking of him as we played another tournament. I am sorry to learn of his passing and I thank you for this opportunity to share.

    I pray that you have great memories of a good man and amazing family man.

  • Helen Folsom says:

    Yes, that smile, his generous spirit, and cheerful outlook. John was the kind of guy you could count on and trust. I’m sad to hear this news today, and pray that grace and love surround Kathryn and the family.

  • Dave Kohler says:

    So sorry to hear of John’s passing. Condolences to Kathryn and the family. I first meant John decades ago at PNB, what a great guy to work with. John touched a lot of people and his infectious, cheerful spirit will be missed.

  • Jim Lyons says:

    Sorry to hear of John’s passing. I knew John through Kathryn as Kathryn, Greg (a retired Seattle Police Officer) and I usually met on Fridays at noon for lunch. John would join us, usually after one of us took a trip to hear all about our adventures. I knew of his passion for golf and his cheering on of the Seattle Mariners. He will be sorely missed by his family.

  • Arlene and Lil, says:

    Dear Kathryn,

    We were so sorry to hear of your husband’s passing.
    Our condolences to you and your family.

    Arlene and Lil

  • Neal Colingham says:

    I knew John through U S West and Duck Golf he was a really great friend very humble and always had nice things to say I am truly sorry for his family.


  • Linda L. BLACKINTON (Thurston) says:

    Kathryn & family, So sorry to hear of John’s passing. I also knew of his great smile through the years of PNB/USWEST/Qwest. He was such a nice person. Sounds like he had a great life and a greater retirement. Lots of love to you and yours.

  • Gary Gamache says:

    I enjoyed working with John at PNB/US West/Qwest. He will be remembered for his smile and enthusiasm. He lived life to the fullest! Condolences to Kathryn and the family.

  • Jack Graham Walker says:

    Dear Kathryn,John was my cousin and I remember him when I was a young boy ,as someone to look up to! My family would come to San Diego to see Uncle Francis and his family. John was older than me but always so kind to me. My mom was Loretta C (Smith)Walker. I saw John again when he came to Oregon at my sisters home.He was just a wonderful man and still the same,always happy and personable! I’m so sorry for your loss and for everyone who truly loved him.It’s obvious he was loved by so many!! My regrets are that I didn’t know him better and lm sure he would have been a positive influence on my life! My and my families prayers are for you and your family now in your time of grief. Thank you, Jack Walker

  • Debi Gifford says:

    Kathryn, thank you for reaching out. So saddened to hear of John’s passing. Great memories as far back as late 70’s. Many laughs!! He was such an honorable man even then. Much love and hugs from me. Deb

  • Sandi Johnson says:

    Hello Kathryn, I have been thinking of you a lot since I heard about John. The times I did see John, he was a bright light. So easy to talk with and always smiling. I hope you are doing as well as possible. Sending hugs and warm thoughts. Sandi

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