John Smith
In Memory of
John Francis "Gripper"
1928 - 2018
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Obituary for John Francis "Gripper" Smith

John Francis "Gripper"  Smith
Smith, John Francis ("Gripper")
John Francis ("Gripper") Smith, died peacefully in Perth Ontario on February 10, 2018 at the age of 89 years. John was an extraordinary man, highly intelligent, energetic, principled, and devoted to his family, as they were to him. He was a great athlete and loved sports of all kinds. John was born in Jamaica and spent a very happy early childhood there. He went to boarding school in England at the tender age of seven, as was the custom in those days, but during WWII he was sent to Ashbury College, Ottawa, and made Canada his home from that time forward. The Barclay family of Montreal became his much loved second family. He received his engineering degree from McGill University and worked his whole career in the aeronautical and aerospace industries, including at Canadair, De Havilland, Spar Aerospace and Bombardier. His retirement years were spent travelling the world, riding and swearing at his somewhat unreliable tractor at his beloved retirement property," the Farm", golfing, watching sports and trying to teach his grandchildren manners. John is pre-deceased by his dear wife of 52 years, Bette-Anne Kniewasser. He is survived by his loving partner of 14 years, Betty Welsford, his brother Peter, his children, Jennifer (Todd), Wendy (Craig), Michael (Mira) and Jamie (Carolyn), his nine grandchildren, Stephanie, Geoffrey, Jonathan, Taylor, Chelsea, Peter, Samantha, Scott and Jack, and his Labradoodle, Buddy. He will be greatly missed by all of us. Special thanks are due to Cathy Lapointe, Dr. Alan Drummond and the Perth Hospital staff for their tremendous attention to John and their support for the whole family. Funeral at St. James Anglican Church, 12 Harvey St, Perth Ontario, 2:00 pm, Saturday, February 24, 2018, with a reception to follow at "The Farm". Donations in memory of John may be sent to the Great War Memorial Hospital Foundation, 33 Drummond St. W., Perth ON K7H 2K1 or on line at or by phone 613-264-1638. Arrangements are in the care of Blair & Son Funeral Directors, Perth.
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