John Michael Smythe Jr. class of 1972, departed this world on January 10, 2024, in Lansing, Michigan, the very place where his story began on September 14, 1954. His passing was peaceful, a gentle farewell to a life lived with vigor, passion, and an abundance of kindness.
John was the beloved son of the late Joan Mahoney and a cherished brother to his late siblings Kim, Shannon, and Corey, as well as his dearly departed daughter, Katelynn Smythe. His legacy continues through his devoted daughter, Danyelle Parsell (Paul), and his adored grandchildren, Jamison, Tinley, Gibson, and Macy, who brought immeasurable joy and laughter to his life.
A proud Spartan, John's academic journey at Michigan State University was marked by his dedication to enhancing community well-being. He earned a degree in Parks and Recreation, which reflected his love for the outdoors and his commitment to fostering spaces where people could thrive. John's pursuit of education did not end there; he returned to MSU to obtain his teaching degree in 1985, further solidifying his role as an educator and mentor to many.
For nearly three decades, John served the students of Holt Public Schools with unwavering dedication, from 1985 until his retirement in 2014. His influence extended beyond the classroom and onto the football field, where he was a coach for the Holt Rams football program at various levels from 1999 to 2017. He helped shape the lives of countless young athletes. His wise counsel, selfless guidance, and the roar of "Coach Smythe" echoing across the field became a treasured sound to him.
John's passion for life was not confined to his work. He was an avid fitness enthusiast, often found taking long runs or lifting weights at the gym. His love for his fur animals was equally profound, and his tender care for them reflected the warmth and kindness that defined his character.
Those who knew John would invariably speak of his kind heart, his wise words, and his selfless nature. He had a remarkable ability to uplift others, to see the potential within, and to encourage growth and resilience. His presence was a source of stability and inspiration, and his absence will be deeply felt by all who were fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him.
As we bid farewell to John Michael Smythe Jr., we celebrate the incredible impact he has left on our lives. His memory will be cherished in the stories shared on the bleachers, in the laughter of his grandchildren, and in the countless lives he touched with his generous spirit. John's journey may have reached its sunset, but the light he cast upon the world will continue to shine brightly in the hearts of those who loved him. We honor his legacy by living with the same compassion and integrity that he exemplified every day.
Rest in peace, John. Your life was a testament to the beauty of giving, and your memory will forever be a beacon of love and selflessness in the Holt community.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date to honor a life well lived by John.
Our thanks to Fred Funston class of 1972 for notification.
Published by Lansing State Journal September 7, 1993