Dr. John H. Smith


Dr. John Harold Smith, 91, passed away on December 28, 2017, at his home in Greenfield, Indiana. He was born on July 14, 1926, in Danville, Illinois, the third child of Mabel Ost Smith and Willard Carlton Smith. His parents preceded him in death, as did his 3 siblings, Willard H., Howard E., and Mary Katherine Kase Bissell.

He graduated from Mishawaka High School in 1943, and began his studies at DePauw University in the fall of that year. Military service interrupted his studies in 1944. He served until 1946 as a private infantry rifleman in the European Theatre, 3rd Army, and mustered out as a Technical Sergeant. Returning to DePauw in 1947, he graduated in June of 1948. In September of 1948 he entered graduate school at Indiana University, completing a Master’s degree in physiology in 1949. He was employed at the Fort Knox medical research laboratory from 1949 to 1950. In 1950 he entered Indiana University Medical School, graduating in 1954, with honors.

He married Elizabeth Marie Rhodes on January 3, 1948, and she survives, along with sons James (Kate), John (Linda), Timothy (Jean), Mark, and Joseph (Jeri), son-in-law, Nick Doffin, sister-in-law, Patricia Rhodes Sloan and her family, grandchildren Molly, Margaret, Gabrielle, Henry, Martin, Tara, Marcus, Kathrine, Stephanie, Charley, and Jaye, great-grandchildren, Russell, Kai, Brooks, Ryne, Ashlynn, Calvin, and Liam. He was predeceased by daughter, Elizabeth “Betsy” Doffin, granddaughter, Sarah Doffin, and grandson, Ulrich Smith.

He served a medical residency from 1954 to 1955 at Indiana University and Indianapolis City Hospital, followed by general practice in Greenfield from 1955 to 1964. In 1964 he served as Chief of Staff of Hancock Memorial Hospital, and also began a residency in anesthesiology at Indiana University Medical Center. His practice of anesthesiology began at Henry County Memorial Hospital. From 1968 to 1970 he assisted with the development of the Intensive Care Unit at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Until retirement in 1991, he practiced anesthesiology at Community East Hospital in Indianapolis.

After retirement, he continued to practice medicine on a mission trip to the Ivory Coast in 1993, where he established a relationship with Dr. Felix Kohol. From 1995 to 2013 he volunteered in clinics serving the disadvantaged in Indianapolis. His primary interest was the study of family medicine; he maintained active medical licensure from 1954 until his death. He enjoyed flying, participating in general aviation from 1958 to 2015, actively flying until he was in his mid-80’s, and administering flight physicals to other private pilots until he was 89.

At the end of his very full life, Dr. Smith stated, “I claim service to God, duty, family and medicine.”

Memorial service will be 6:00 pm, Saturday, December 30, 2017 at Stillinger Family Funeral Home, 1780 West Main Street, Greenfield, Indiana 46140. Friends may call 3:00 pm until the time of service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Wheeler Mission, 205 East New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.