John's Story

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John David Smith, 61 of Athens, died suddenly Saturday morning, October 21, 2017 at his home from a brief battle with cancer.
Born September 14, 1956 in Hinton, he was the son of the late David Elmo Smith and Mildred Parker Smith. John David was a graduate of Hinton High School and received his Bachelor of Social Work in 1976 from Concord College. John David valued education and was a life-long learner, going on to obtain a Master's of Social Work from WVU in 1981, Master of Arts in Psychology from WV College of Graduate Studies in 1988, Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo, College of Law in 1991 and an LL.M. in Health and Administrative Law from DePaul University, School of Law in 1998. John David returned to Athens, WV to become an Associate Professor and Director of the Social Work Program at Concord College. In 2001 he was named Chair of the Division of Social Sciences, and Professor and Director of the Social Work Program until 2005. At that time he assumed the responsibility of Professor and Director of the Social Work Program, Legal Studies and Pre-Law programs, Counseling Center, and the Public Service Initiative. In 2006 he was appointed as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, until 2009 at which time he served as Interim Vice President and Academic Dean. In 2010 John David was appointed as Vice President and Academic Dean until 2011 at which time he served as Professor and Chair of the Social Work Department, MSW Program Director, Director of Legal Studies and Pre-Law, Primary Investigator Public Service Initiatives, and Director of Appalachian Leadership and Education Fellows, positions he held until his death.
John David was active on many levels in the community. He was currently serving as the Chair of the West Virginia Social Work Education Consortium. He also served on the boards of Southern WV Community Corrections, Governor's Committee on Community Corrections, Concord University Research Corp., Mercer Co. Drug Court, Appalachian Area Agency on Aging, Concord University Alumni Association and was affiliated with various fraternities and honor societies. Previous board affiliations include West Virginia Developmental Disabilities, Hospice of Southern West Virginia, National Network of Social Work Managers, WV National Association of Social Workers and various others. Over the course of his career, John David was honored by numerous agencies and organizations, as well as being named the Social Worker of the Year in 1995, NASW Region I. He also received the Hawey Wells Citizenship Award, Fraternity Alumni of the Year, Pi Kappa Alpha; Concord University Outstanding Alumnus award in 2010 and Alumnus of the Year in 2012. John David also served on the Athens Town Council since 2005.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his only sibling, Virginia Sue Smith McDowelle.
Left to cherish his memory is his niece, Crystal Dotson, her husband Jack and their daughter Abigail, all of South Charleston, WV. John David also held dear extended family members and a long-time, very dear friend, Pam Hill of Scott Depot, WV. John David's love and devotion to Concord University was evident to anyone who knew him. He leaves behind many friends, colleagues and students, current and former whose lives he has touched.
John David was a caring and compassionate man who inspired the lives of numerous individuals over the years. He personified the values of his profession and once you met him, he left a lasting impression with his energy, vibrant personality and sense of humor. He was always eager to help anyone he could and loved his family dearly. He also had a love of animals and enjoyed the company of his two dogs, Rip and Charlie.
A service of celebration will be held to honor and celebrate the life of John David Smith on Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 2:00 P.M. in the Ballroom at Concord University. A gathering and reception will follow allowing friends to share memories with one another until 4:00 P.M.
Online condolences may be shared with the family via www.memorialfd.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Bowers Hospice House, 54 Cranberry Dr, Beckley, WV 25801 http://www.hosp1ceofsouthernwv.org/ or ?Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary P.O. Box 93 Mount Juliet, TN 37121 http://ofsds.org/donate.html. The John David Smith family is being served by the Memorial Funeral Directory & Cremation Center on the Athens Road in Princeton.
Published on October 26, 2017
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