Dr. John Terry Smith
John Terry Smith, M.D., 94, a long-time resident of Beaumont, Texas, died Friday, May 29, 2020, in Frisco, Texas. He was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1925 in Milam, Texas to Obediah Hillis Smith and Elsa Hofmann Smith in his grandparents’ farm house.
From early childhood, he always wanted to be a doctor, inspired by seeing his “uncle” Giles Smith, make house calls in his Model T. He loved reading, English literature, math, and physics, and had great admiration for the many teachers who inspired his love of learning. In 1941, his family moved to Beaumont where he graduated from South Park High School and attended Lamar Junior College. In 1944, he enlisted in the United States Navy and participated in the landings in the Philippines and the invasion of Okinawa. In May 1946, he had a one-way train ticket to Beaumont, and was glad to be home again. It was upon return from service that he completed his college education in Pre-Med at North Texas University in 1947. Having come from a family of poor East Texas cotton farmers, the likelihood of attending medical school was rather remote. With encouragement from his mother, teachers, and a GI Bill, he fulfilled his childhood dream upon acceptance to Baylor University College of Medicine in Houston. This is where he met and married the love of his life, Ormand Jane Sykes.
After graduation and a rotating internship at Jefferson Davis (charity) Hospital in Houston, his medical practice began in Beaumont in the summer of 1952. At that time, the community was in the midst of a severe Polio epidemic. Many Saturday and Sunday afternoons were spent making house calls to see sick children with high fever, always the possibility of meningitis or polio. His thriving practice in Family Medicine lasted 23 years. He became skilled in almost all aspects of general practice—General Surgery, Urology, Orthopedics, Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Emergency Medicine—there were no emergency room physicians in those days. He felt he had the opportunity to practice during the “Golden Age of Medicine,” believing that the real gold had to do with the patient- physician relationship; the trust between patient and physician. Beyond his regular practice, he also served as the South Park School District doctor, attending school games and handling any emergencies that occurred. In addition, he was Lamar University’s Student Health Center physician. During those two decades as a family doctor and witnessing many of his patients suffering with allergy-related illnesses, he made the decision to specialize in Allergy. In 1975 and upon board certification and recognition as a specialist in Allergy and Immunology, he opened the Beaumont Allergy Clinic. He was later elected to fellowship in The American Academy of Allergy and continued this medical practice until retirement in 1993. There were countless, warm memories of his patients, nurses, and staff. During his medical career, he was also active in the Rotary Club and various medical and hospital organizations. His proudest moments were: a house call or emergency call to someone or family who needed care, but could not afford it, yet were truly grateful with gifts of big bags of vegetables, sacks of satsumas, and Christmas coconut lamb cakes.
Some of his most treasured family memories were with family and friends at “the Farm” in Warren, Texas. In 1964, a fifty-acre tract of land was purchased (from the Texas Veterans’ Land Program) near the edge of the Big Thicket National Preserve. A local carpenter was hired and a country cabin was constructed. The first project was “the horse enterprise,” with the purchase of two gentle horses, Freckles and Patches, for his children. Later, a catfish pond was built, pastures were developed, and a cattle venture began. After deciding that growing pine trees was less demanding than the cattle business, neighboring land was purchased and converted into a longleaf pine plantation. The farm was his sanctuary, spending every week-end there. He loved the beauty of nature: gardening, planting trees, raising long leaf pines, and tending his roses and flowerbeds. To him, the most perfect day was a beautiful Blue Sky Day—Spring or Fall—on the Farm.
Membership at Calder Baptist Church was a major part of his fifty-nine years of life in Beaumont. He served as a deacon for most of those years. He participated in outreach programs, various church committees, including Chair of the Missions Ministries Team, and church landscape projects. He had a keen interest in participating in foreign mission, and was, in fact, bound for a trip to China with fellow members, when his son, Terry, died unexpectedly following surgery in 2002. When friends and relatives asked where to send a memorial donation, the idea to establish a fund at the church for International Mission Trips emerged. Several years afterwards, Buckner’ s International Orphan Care Ministry afforded him and other church members a great opportunity to visit the orphanages in St. Petersburg. Sharing love and concern for these deprived children was one of the highlights of his life.
In his retirement, he loved being with his grandchildren and seeing them grow up, and especially spending time with them at his beloved farm in Warren, Texas and taking trips to visit his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter who lived in Santa Fe. During this time, he was able to take the Master Gardeners course where he concluded that gardeners, farmers, foresters, and lovers of the land are some of the greatest people. He also enjoyed traveling with his grandsons to Europe, visiting with his mother’s family and cousins in San Diego, California, as well as reunion trips with his WWII shipmates and spouses. After moving to the Dallas area to be closer to his daughters and grandchildren, he had the opportunity in 2013 to take the WWII Veterans Honor Flight to Washington D.C. and visit the war memorials and Arlington Cemetery. He often said this was one of the most satisfying trips ever made.
He is survived by his devoted daughters, Cynthia Smith Gonzales (Mrs. Tomas Gonzales) of Frisco, Texas and Andrea Smith Glass (Mrs. Cecil R. Glass, III) of Plano, Texas; three grandchildren, Zachary Robertson Glass, Alexander Morgan Glass, and Miranda Rachel Gonzales (Mrs. Matthew Roberts), all of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area; a great granddaughter, Charlotte Reese Glass and great grandson, Ben Alexander Glass; and his brother, Truett Smith of Milam, Texas.
He is preceded in death by his wife of sixty-eight years and a son, Terry Earl Smith.
The family extends heartfelt gratitude to his loving caregivers, Margaret Kanyua and Beatrice Miricho, who carefully watched over him during his last 4 years, after a stroke left him partially paralyzed. This challenging last chapter was faced head-on with dignity, acceptance and fortitude.
There will be a family graveside service at Magnolia Cemetery in Woodville, Texas, under the direction of Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont.
Memorial contributions in his honor may be made to Calder Baptist Church, 1005 N. 11th Street, Beaumont, Texas 77702.
His dearly loved farm will be a legacy for generations to come.
Excerpt from “The Farm” by Wendell Berry
Go by the narrow road
Along the creek, a burrow
Under shadowy trees
Such as a mouse makes through
Tall grass, so that you may
Forget the wide road you
Have left behind, and all
That it has led to. Or,
Best, walk up through the woods,
Around the valley rim,
And down to where the trees
Give way to cleared hillside,
So that you reach the place
Out of the trees’ remembrance
Of their kind; seasonal
And timeless, they stand in
Uncounted time, and you
Have passed among them, small
As a mouse at a feast,
Unnoticed at the feet
Of all those mighty guests.
Come on a clear June morning
As the fog lifts, trees drip,
And birds make everywhere
However you may come,
You’ll see it suddenly
Lie open to the light
Amid the woods: a farm
Little enough to see
Or call across—cornfield,
Hayfield, and pasture, clear
As if remembered, dreamed
And yearned for long ago,
Neat as a blossom now
With all the pastures mowed
And the dew fresh upon it,
Bird music all around.
That is the vision, seen
As on a Sabbath walk:
Of human life whose terms
Are Heaven’s and this earth’s.
Magnolia Cemetery, Woodville
Magnolia Cemetery, Woodville
- North Nellius Street, Woodville, Texas 75979
Broussard's Mortuary - McFaddin Avenue
Broussard's Mortuary - McFaddin Avenue
- 2000 mcfaddin avenue beaumont tx 77701
Greenie Blessings to his family. May God Bless you.
Mary Lou Trahan Alsdurf
RIP Dr Smith. It was a pleasure to know you.
Anne Sykes Hillin
Cynthia and Andrea, I am sorry for the loss. But I have to say that reading this beautiful memorial to your dad made me smile! It reminded me of my dad, Dr. Walter Sykes. I remember all the times our moms had a play day for all of us together. You said in the memorial that your dad thought he lived in the 'Golden Age of Medicine:. My dad said the same thing and felt blessed to have been part of it! It was a love for medicine that they shared.( along with the Navy!) I too remember the fresh vegetables, chickens, fruits and other things for payment, or not at all. It wasn't about that, it was about being able to HELP another being. I have great memories of both your parents!! I am sad for all of your family but I am honored to have known such a honorable and great man/Doctor and his lovely wife, Ormand Jane, and all of you.. Please know that all of you are in my prayers. May God grant him rest and the angels sing praise for a job well done! Sending hugs to each of you. Anne Sykes Hillin
J. Todd Andrews, MD
What a beautiful tribute to one of the most gracious men in my life. In speaking to Sandy Ricks tonight, I shared how much I always felt the warmth and kindness that radiated from Uncle John. He was a presence in this world that touched thousands of people and left an indelible mark on their being. Without question, he was the reason I wanted to become a doctor. I feel so very blessed that God allowed me to know this man and learn that a physician's role is to care as much as to diagnose. My condolences to you Cynthia and Andrea. Having lost my mother last January, I know the sorrow you feel. Daphne Du Maurier wrote, " It is as though every human being born into this world burns, for a brief moment, like a star, and because of this light, shines in the darkness, and so there is glory, so there is life." Your father was a big beautiful star whose light shone on us all, gave warmth to many who were cold, gave hope to those in need, offered care and concern to the ill, and above all offered love to everyone. This world will not be the same without him.
What a beautiful tribute to a great doctor. When Terry Earl was small , your parents lived next door to me on South Street in Beaumont. I sometimes baby sat with Terry, and Dr. Smith became our family doctor. When my children came along he delivered both of them. I was very fond of both of your parents, and so glad to see a picture of him.
Sandra Ricks Sandy
I have so many great thoughts to express. It was a privilege to be a nurse for 20 years in Dr. Smith office.A true gentleman to his staff and great doctor to his patients.The memory of Dr. Smith, Ormand Jane and Terry will be with us always. Cynthia, Andrea and family Iâ€™m sorry. Thanks Dr.Todd Andrews for your call to inform me your Uncle John had passed. Love to all.
Elizabeth Weaver Syrah
Iâ€™m so glad your Dad can be with your Mom and brother now and home with the Lord. I remember him making a house call a couple of times to see me when I was a child. There are not any Doctors like him any more! Surely his Christian love was shining through. Much love. I loved both your parents so very much!!
Cynthia Robichaux Smith
Dr. Smith was our family doctor too and he and the family ;lived in the corner house on Fifth Street in the garage apartment behind their house. Lucianna lived next door from the Smiths and we both baby sat for the Smith Kids. I now have three Smith kids myself and they were all under his care since the day they were born and Pat my husband is a Smith as well and continued untill we moved in in 1975.. He and Ormand Jane were wonderful sweet people.. I cant remember if Cynthia's second name was Louise or not..That was my mothers name. I just happened to be looking through obits today and there wasDr Smiths picture. I am living in an assisted livining apartment in Fredericksburg Texas, my husband Pat died this past April and had been married 65 years. Sorry to hear that Terry Earl died so young. Cynthia Smith
Justin Blane Smith
What a wonderful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss, Cynthia and Andrea. You know how I loved your dad. It is because of him and grandma that I love gardening, watching flowers grow and bloom,, etc.. There were many days that I spent with your dad. wether it was doing chores around the house on Rankin or spending a day at the farm. Even though it was work (and he did give a stipend), it was also an educational time to learn about farming, gardening and raising livestock. I enjoyed going to Uncle John and Aunt Ormandâ€™â€™s house because there was always magazineâ€™s to read. Not kids stuff, but stacks of Time, US News & World Report and others that broadened oneâ€™s mind. To this day I am.a voracious reader of current events and I believe part of the reason I have been at the Houston Chronicle for over 30 years is due to the times spent at their house getting my new fix. From my earliest days of him being my doctor, getting check ups (and a sucker afterwards) through his years as an allergy specialist and until recent years, he was always someone I looked up to, admired and loved. Will definitely miss Uncle John T.
Dr. Cecil Glass
My condolences to Cynthia, Andrea and their families. John Terry was a true friend, dedicated physician and a real gentleman. He will be long remembered by all of us.
Cynthia and Andrea, I have fond memories of both of your dear parents. May God comfort you with beautiful memories of a life well lived.
John sent me many of his patients as he transitioned to his allergy practice.He was all thought of by our medical community.i found him to be kind pleasant and compassionate condolences to his family.