Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life,
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.
Jack Smith entered his heavenly home Sunday, January 12, 2014. Jack was born May 18, 1938 to Henry and Inez Smith in Azalea, Ore. His father was killed in a logging accident when he was three. The turmoil and pain that followed would shape the man he was to become. As a young boy he spent much of his time in the woods, fields, and along the creeks near where he lived. He loved the outdoors and felt most comfortable there his entire life.
At the age of 16 he was hitchhiking and the fellow who picked him up talked to him about his need to give his life to Jesus and he accepted the Lord.
While in high school in Canyonville, Ore. he met Sondra Patricia Pat Sondenaa. They were married February 9, 1958. There soon followed the birth of three sons, Jack Jr., Michael, and Chris. In 1964 the family moved to Portland, Ore. so Jack could attend Multnomah School of the Bible. He was there three years.
Because of Jack's painful childhood, he was passionate about ministering to hurting and at-risk young people. In the fall of 1967 a daughter, Rebecca, joined the family and they moved to Ruch, Ore. expressly to work with Earl Best in starting the camping ministry of Wilderness Trails. It was through Jack's vision and hard work that a beautiful camp facility was started. Wilderness Trails continues to this day encouraging and loving needy children.
Jack directed Wilderness Trails for 20 years then commuted to the San Francisco, Calif. area for several years to develop a similar program, Today's Youth Matter.
Jack was a visionary with a tender heart, always looking for a new project or a new way to help kids. On a mission trip to Uganda, he met a boy who couldn't walk because of a crippled leg. Jack came home and set to work planning to get the boy here for surgery. He accomplished his goal. All services were donated and in 2008 Joel came to Medford for surgery and went home able to walk.
Another time he became involved in an adoption program that ended up with 10 children from Kazakhstan being adopted by local families. One child became his granddaughter.
His love of the outdoors and hunting led to many years of taking friends and family on trips into the Wallowa Mountains. He also enjoyed operating big machinery and spent years in the logging, construction, and mining industries.
He loved having the family around and built a campfire circle in the yard for family hot dog roasts. On Sunday, shortly after his passing and with most of his family present, a huge bonfire was built and a hot dog roast was underway.
Jack is survived by his wife, Pat; their children, Jack Jr. (Sherry), Michael (Tracy), Chris (Vicky), and Rebecca (Darrell) Badger; grandchildren, Stephanie Smith, Nicole (Alex) Button, Katie (Mat) Lytle, Rachael (Caleb) Froehlich, Cory Smith, Levi Smith, Cody Smith, Ben Badger, Jaclyn (Justin) Kabot, Sondra Badger, Janae Badger, Jacob Smith, Jesse Smith, Stephen Badger, Luke Smith, Elijah Smith, Nathan Badger, and Aubrey Badger; great-grandchildren, Christian Miller, Hannah Button, and a little Lytle to arrive in February. He is also survived by his sister, Nonie (Norm) Jarvis. He was preceded in death by his brother, Robert Gaedecke, and his sister, Janet Lewis.
A celebration of Jack's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 1, 2014 at the Applegate Christian Fellowship in Ruch, Ore. Memorial contributions may be made to Wilderness Trails, Inc. PO Box 4655, Medford, OR 97501.