Dr. John C. Smith II, 83, formerly of Minot, died March 14, 2013, at his home in Minneapolis, surrounded by his family.
John was born in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, Oct. 5, 1929, to Lt. Col. John C. and Lillian Dahl Smith. As the son of an Army officer, he lived in many locations as a child, but he always considered the family ranch near Sheridan, Wyo., as home. In 1947 he graduated from high school in Erlangen, Germany, as class valedictorian. In three years he graduated with honors, and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla., in 1950. He attended Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore, graduating 1954.
He did his pathology residencies at Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, N.Y., from 1954 to 1956, and at the Boston Lying-In Hospital, the Free Hospital For Women, and the Peter Brent Brigham Hospital, Boston, from 1956 to 1958. He was board certified in clinical and anatomical pathology, nuclear medicine, and ultrasound.
After his medical training Dr. Smith served as a captain in the Air Force Medical Corps from 1958 to 1960. He was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. He was later promoted to major.
John married Julia Reeder Summerall in the Washington Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, Washington, D.C., on April 18, 1953. They had daughter Margaret, son John III, son Robert Bruce, and twins Julia and Charles.
After his service in the Air Force, John, Julia "Judy," and family moved to Portland, Ore. Dr. Smith practiced pathology at Providence Hospital. He also served as an assistant professor of medicine for the University of Oregon Medical School, and as the medical advisor to the Portland Zoo.
In 1971 he accepted a position as director of pathology and nuclear medicine at Trinity Medical Center, Minot. He later started the ultrasound department at Trinity. In 1985 Dr. Smith opened a private pathology practice and laboratory. He served as Ward County Coroner for more than 30 years. Dr. Smith trained in forensic science and scene investigation at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. He provided expert testimony in numerous high profile state and federal trials, including the federal trial of Yori Kahl after the Medina "shoot out." Dr. Smith served as an associate professor of pathology for the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Grand Forks.
He held many positions in local and state medical societies, including the Fifth District Medical Society for 40 years, the North Dakota Medical Association for 40 years, president of the North Dakota Society of Pathologists for 20 years, and the College of American Pathologists for 50 years. Dr. Smith retired from medicine in 2008.
Second only to his family, which included numerous dogs, John loved the outdoors. He was an avid hunter. He hunted elk in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, and deer in North Dakota. He enjoyed hunting upland game, ducks, and geese. He was a crack shot, and continued to hunt deer well into his late 70s. His hunting prowess earned him the nickname of Hawkeye, or Natty Bumppo, the deer slayer, by his children.
He loved fly fishing for steelhead salmon in the rivers of Oregon, as well as salmon and walleye in Lake Sakakawea. He made many trips to Alaska, Florida, and Belize in search of new fishing adventures. Summer weekends were spent at the family cabin on Douglas Bay, Lake Sakakawea. Dr. Smith designed and built the cabin himself. He took up skiing at age 50. The family ski trip to Beaver Creek, Colo., was an annual highlight, especially once his grandchildren were old enough to keep up with him.
"Poppa," as he was lovingly called by his grandchildren, was passionate about his garden, which the family called the truck farm. The large garden provided fresh vegetables for the entire summer. He planted a variety of apple trees at home and also at the lake. The lake apple trees still provide apples for his favorite dessert, Judy's apple crisp.
He was an enthusiastic Minnesota Twins baseball fan, and seldom missed a TV broadcast. He enjoyed his trips to Target Field with his family.
Sadly, the family home and garden of nearly 40 years were destroyed in the 2011 Souris River flood. John and Judy moved to Minneapolis and lived with son Charles. John had been diagnosed with leukemia. Charles tenderly provided his father with all daily care until John's death.
Dr. Smith is survived by: his wife of nearly 60 years, Julia; five children, and eight grandchildren: Margaret and her husband, Judge Gary Lee, and their son Charles, Minot; John III, M.D., Denver; Robert Bruce and his wife, Carla, and their sons Reeder and Harrison, North Oaks, Minn.; Julia Smith and her husband, David Grein, and their children Peter, Nathaniel, and Lucy, Portland, Ore.; and Charles and his children Peyton and Charles II, Minneapolis.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Col. John C. and Lillian Smith.
Memorial service: Will be held March 23 at 10 a.m. at All Saints' Episcopal Church, Minot, where he was a member for more than 40 years.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to All Saints' Episcopal Church, 301 S. Main St., Minot, ND, 58701.