The Man. The Myth. The Legend. John Henry Smith.
At his core, John was an all around scholar, excelling in every area of his life, achieving all of his life’s goals. As an adolescent, his elementary years were spent at P.H. Holden Elementary School, in Houston Independent School District, where his love for academics blossomed rapidly. John carried his academic talents to Booker T. Washington Junior and Senior High School, where he held high-honor roll status, until his graduation in 1970.
Between 1964 and 1970, he held numerous titles and won multiple awards, such as: Seventh Grade Vice President; District Vice President; Gents of Washington Parliamentarian; President of Student Council; Most Outstanding Sophomore Boy; perfect attendance, English, drama, and science awards. John was a member of Library Club, the Track Team (where he lettered), and Gents of Washington. At the time, bilingualism was not common amongst many Black men, but John mastered the art of conversational Spanish, and participated in UIL Spanish competitions, annihilating local scholars from schools across the city, winning numerous trophies. Upon graduation, John received the Jesse H. Jones Scholarship, and was featured in the Houston Chronicle on May 11, 1970, as one of the Houston School Board’s outstanding graduation candidates. This honor was solely based on service, leadership and character, in addition to scholastic achievement.
In 1983, John joined the Houston Police Academy. While on the force, he received numerous honors, ranging from his involvement with the Drug Task Force, Identi-Child Program, and the Community Relations Committee, where he lectured at Houston-area schools and community events, seamlessly connecting with community stakeholders, building strong, lasting relationships. John’s colleagues were amazed at his ability to acquire the top-ranking recognition of distinguished expert shooter, and would solicit his training to achieve the same status.
In his past time, John immensely loved playing organized softball, making his own ammunition, and gun and bow hunting with his buddies, never missing the opening of deer season! He enjoyed fishing, shooting at the HPD Gun Range, Top Gun, honing his archery craft at Hillcrest Archery and West Houston Archery, as well as being a devout member of Buffalo Field Archery Club. He participated in competitive archery around the nation, making repeat appearances at the Texas Police Olympic Games, where he was inducted into the 2011 Archery Hall of Fame.
Above all else, John’s greatest accomplishments were being a loving husband of over 40 years, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, mentor, ministry leader, servant leader, and friend, unquestionably providing for, and giving to, those in need.