Obituary: John Smith

John Smith
John Smith
Provided Photo

August 27, 1933 – May 30, 2023

John Strong Macauley Smith “tipped over,” in the words of his mother, on May 30, 2023 at age 89, after battling Alzheimer’s disease with grace.
John was born in Louisville, Kentucky on August 27, 1933, the son of Emilie Strong, a leader in chamber music and historic preservation, and John Macauley Letchworth Smith, a lawyer and circuit court judge. His father drove his mother over rough roads to hasten his birth.
After college at Yale, he got his first job in journalism at The Aspen Times. John was motivated by his deep curiosity and his will to overcome dyslexia by developing his writing skills.
In 1970, John started Grass-Roots TV in Aspen. Grass-Roots was the first community television station in the nation and the first media to videotape, cablecast and broadcast county commissioner, city council and state legislature meetings when community volunteers simply showed up with Grass-Roots cameras and started rolling. The station carried local news and features, and in the summer of 1972, a wildly popular soap opera “The Edge of Ajax” was launched with an abundance of local talent in the Aspen of that era. The Grass-Roots Network continues to this day.
A friend led him to Eugene in 1980 where he bought a small farm in the Crow area and found a new home. In 1984 he went to Nepal at the invitation of his college roommate who introduced him to his second wife, Catherine Manz, in the lobby of the Mala Hotel in Kathmandu. For the next 35 years at Crow Farm, John and Catherine put hearts and hands to work building an oasis for family and friends.
John is survived by his beloved wife Catherine Manz Smith; Remarkable children Nicholas Macauley Smith, Emily Smith Baker and Suzanne Field Smith; Grandchildren Macauley and Cole Baker; Jordan, Alex and Katya Blandino; Sister in-law Connie Manz; devoted cousins, nephews, goddaughters, and countless other loved ones whom John considered family.