Dr. John Hawley Smith, 91, of Laurel passed away peacefully with his family by his side in the Beartooth Billings Clinic in Red Lodge, Montana on August 14, 2021. He was born to Dr. Irwin “Bud” and Gertrude (Alexander) Smith on July 31, 1930, at the family home in Laurel, Montana.
John grew up in Laurel and graduated from Laurel High School in 1948. While in high school he played football. He enrolled at the University of Montana (then MSU) and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He completed his pre-dental degree at Eastern Montana College and was accepted to the Washington University of Dental Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He married Dione Shirley on August 14, 1954. After graduation from dental school, John entered the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Larson Air Force Base Moses Lake, Washington. He was honorably discharged, and the couple returned to Laurel. John joined his father in the dental practice until his father’s passing in 1965. The couple raised their children Mark, Greg, Holli and foster daughter Annie in Laurel. The couple divorced but remained very good friends. John completed coursework in orthodontics at the university of Washington. He retired in 2001 and enjoyed roaming the country in his RV. He married Linda Rider and they later divorced.
John was a man of many talents and a perfectionist. He was a skilled cabinetmaker and carpenter. He was an avid fly fisherman and tied his own flies. His passion was aviation and he owned and flew his own plane for many years. He was an integral part of the expansion of the Laurel Airport and held the position of Chairman of the Board for nearly 50 years. He retired only after the completion of the new runway in October 2018. John was recognized by the FAA for his accomplishments and made the trip to Seattle in March 2019 to accept the award. John was an active member of the Laurel community. He was a longstanding member of the Laurel Rotary Club and was inducted into the Rotary Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in Laurel hosting three foreign exchange students and was proud that two of his grandchildren were Rotary Exchange students. He was inducted into the Laurel High School Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chamber of Commerce.
John is preceded in death by his parents, his sister Barbara Schreiner and his foster daughter Annie.
He is survived by his sons Mark (Chrysa), Greg (Kerri) Smith; his daughter Holli Krizek (Frank Jarvenpaa); his grandchildren Dane, Isaac, Rainer (Rebecca) Smith, Beau Mulvaney, Jeremy and Cameron Krizek, Kira (Luke) Lombardi and great grandchildren Jake and Elly; his nieces Punki (Terry) Bullis and Barbara (John) Schnase and two former wives Dione Shirley Smith and Linda Rider Smith.
Inurnment with Military Honors will be held at the Yellowstone Veterans’ Cemetery, Laurel, on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 11 a.m. A Celebration of Life will follow at the Laurel Airport with refreshments served. Bullis Mortuary is entrusted with the arrangements.