We all mourn the passing of long-time Handlan member John Smith.  John's interest in and knowledge of the natural world, particularly birds, was unsurpassed.

John Lawrence Smith, 69, of Hurricane, a self-proclaimed “traveling United Methodist preacher, an observer of God’s creation and a recorder of Mountain heritage,” died Friday, Dec. 31, 2010, at Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston after a long illness.

He was born Jan. 24, 1941, in Charleston to the late Stanley Lawrence and Margie Edwards Smith of Nitro.

Smith is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Nancy Hendricks Smith; children, Jay Lawrence Smith and Julianne (Danny) Smith Bowyer, both of Hurricane; grandchildren, Jasmine Bowyer and Danny Bowyer III; sisters Helen Harman of Luray, Va., Rebecca (Robert) Jordan, of Dallas, Texas; brother Richard (Robin) Stanley Smith, of St. Albans and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He is an alumnus of both Nitro High School (’58) and West Virginia University (’62). He received a Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in 1965.

In 1966, Smith was ordained a pastor in the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. His service to the Lord took him over most of the state starting in the Potomac Highlands of Pendleton, Hardy and Grant counties were he served eight churches, and concluding in 2001 with Montgomery and Boomer United Methodist churches in Fayette County.

He was also the author of many books on the natural history of West Virginia including The Potomac Naturalist, Blackwater Country, The High Allegheny and The Birds of Pendleton County. He had many other articles on the state’s history appear in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.

A memorial service for Smith was held on Saturday, Jan. 8, at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Hurricane. A reception to celebrate what would have been his 70th birthday followed.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Smith’s name either to the Handlin Chapter of the Brooks Bird Club, 305 Mount View Dr., Charleston, W. Va., 25314 or the Friends of Blackwater, 501 Elizabeth St., Charleston, W. Va., 25311.


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Do not miss John Smith's article on the Evening Grosbeak in a recent  issue of "Wonderful West Virginia" magazine.


"Winter Birds" - Several articles in the recent issue of Friends of Blackwater.


Read all of the Nature Notes series in the "Friends of Blackwater Quarterly" by our own J. Lawrence Smith


A recent issue of Wonderful West Virginia magazine includes an article about the Evening Grosbeak  written by the Handlan Chapter's own J. Lawrence Smith.


See the article about John Smith in the July 22, 2008 issue of the Putnam Standard.

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