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Jerry John Smith


Jerry John Smith passed away on July 3, 2019, just after the Marengo fireworks started. He went out with a bang, surrounded by his children, grandchildren,
great-grandchildren, other family and friends. His loyal pups Codie, Rudy and Sammy never left his side. He was born on the kitchen table on March 21, 1943, to John and Doris Smith in Colfax, Iowa. He married his high school sweetheart, Joann Lester, in 1961. They had five children, Julie (Rick) Bechtel, Shelly (Scott) Larson, Diana (Vince) Kimm, Chrissy (Wes) Ross and Eric Smith.
Joann preceded him in death in 1973. He married Madeline Vrba in 1989 and he gained three more children, Janet Vrba, Patty (Steve) Fisher and Frank (Dayna) Vrba. He and Madeline celebrated 30 years of marriage in March. Madeline passed away April 24, 2019.
He is survived by 14 grandchildren: Matt Sherwood, Nate (Cassie) Bechtel, Riley (Lindsy) Larson, Lydia Larson, Whitney (Travis) Eister, Wade (Shawna) Kimm, Makenzie (Aaron) Kimm, Olivia (Paul) Ross, Avery Ross, Allayna Smith, Nadia Fisher, Cael Fisher, Natasha Vrba and Justin Vrba. He adored his 11 great-grandchildren, Cole Sherwood, Coy Sherwood, Henry Bechtel, Cayden Larson, Nolen Larson, Graysen Larson, Cooper Eister, Harry Eister, Harper Kimm, Cruz Kimm and Easton Brant; siblings, Carolyn (Don) Johnston, Cheryl Rosenbalm, Susan (William) Thomas, Frank (Betty) Lester and MaryAnn (Karl) Blumer.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Larry Smith; and his first great-grandchild, Kennedi Sherwood.
Jerry was the founder and owner of S & J Sanitation and a proud supporter of the Marengo community. He preferred the title of garbologist. He enjoyed traveling, cruises, nature, country music, birds and his beloved pups. Ten doves were lined up on the bird feeder outside his window when he passed.
Right before he passed away Chrissy thanked him, and he said, "It sure has been an adventure." Papa was one of a kind. In his younger days, he enjoyed going uptown for a beer or 20. He had many "Papa-isms":
Fair is fair in Iowa County.
Don't cry over money, it's just paper.
No reason to be dirty, soap is cheap.
Don't be afraid of the dead, it is the living you have to worry about.
Ain't no hill for a climber.
Yesterday is gone, live for today.
Your word should be gold.
Once a porker, always a porker so don't kill yourself with those diets.
Don't cry in your soup.
Papa planned his "final blast off" many years ago. He put his wishes in writing and put his granddaughter Whitney in charge when she was 12 years old. Per his request, we are serving beer and bologna sandwiches. Please join us for a celebration of his life at the American Legion, Marengo, Iowa, on Saturday, July 13. At 5 p.m. we will have a prayer and a sharing of memories. Bring your PG-13 stories of Papa to share. Open house immediately following until 9 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Kennedi's Kisses, 12402 S. 81st Ave, Papillion, NE, 68046.
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