John “Captain John”, “Tar”, Smith, Jr., age 85, resident of 19948 Skeltontown Road, Cambridge Springs, died on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at his home after a long fight with cancer. He married the former Shirley Veneiva Stafford on July 13, 1959 and she preceded him in death on March 22, 2013. Born on May 3, 1931, John was a son of the late John Smith, Sr., and JoAnn Watkins Smith.
John moved to the area when he was 15 years old from Kentucky and over the years worked as a block layer, in construction, and for a time operated his own backhoe service. He retired from Penn DOT after 33 years of service as a heavy equipment operator. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and restoring John Deere tractors. He was a self-taught and accomplished banjo and guitar player.
Surviving John are five daughters – Debra JoAnn Applebee and her husband, Roy of Venango; Bonita “Bonnie” Sue Felton and her husband, Randy of Cambridge Springs; Lori Ann Terrill and her companion – Michael McLean of Malvern, Ohio; Kellie Lynn Schroat and her husband, James of Venango; and Jodi Lee McLaughlin and her husband, John of Venango. Also surviving are thirteen grandchildren – Shannon Willey, Jimmy Applebee, Jay Felton, Randi Felton, Kayla Terrill, Chance Terrill, Dustin Schroat, Jordan Schroat, Dakota Schroat, Luke Ebright, Jacob Ebright, Joshua Ebright, and Emma Veneiva McLaughlin; twelve great grandchildren; a brother – Brack Smith of Erie; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife of 54 years, Shirley Veneiva Smith, John was preceded in death by four siblings – Paul, Bill, Liz, and Lou.
Friends may call at the Van Matre Family Funeral Home in Cambridge Springs on Friday, April 14th from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held there on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with Reverend Brian Riddle, pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Drakes Mills officiating. Interment will be in Venango Cemetery.