'Always a good fellow'

An EMT instructor, youth pastor, and Sunday School teacher, Jay Smith also loved dancing and scrapbooking with his wife

An EMT instructor, youth pastor, and Sunday School teacher, Jay Smith also loved dancing and scrapbooking with his wife

November 05, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note:Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about John "Jay" Bressler Smith, who died Oct. 24 at the age of 62. His obituary appeared in the Oct. 26 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

Pam Long was working at Carson's Jewelers when an interesting young man came in one day to buy some silver flatware.

It was 1968, and Pam was just 17 years old.

"I thought he was probably buying the silver for his wife," Pam said, disappointed because she was so taken with John "Jay" Smith right from the start.

Their paths crossed again in 1971 at a New Year's Eve party at the Venice Inn, and Jay asked Pam to dance.


"I reminded him of our meeting at the store, and I asked him if the person he bought the silver for liked it," Pam said.

Jay told Pam that his mother was very pleased with the gift.

"I breathed a sigh of relief," Pam said.

They had their first date in March 1972.

"We saw a John Wayne movie at Henry's Theater," Pam said.

Already into his emergency medical technician career, Jay was taking classes when they were dating.

He joined Community Rescue Service in 1972.

He later made his mark teaching EMT classes in Washington and Montgomery counties.

"He was a great instructor," said Robbie Kefauver, who worked with Jay when they were among the original 10 dispatchers hired in 1975 as Washington County Fire and Rescue Communications went into service.

Jay and Robbie also were active at CRS during those early years, and remained friends through the years.

Married in 1973, Pam and Jay - six years her senior - charted a course through life that she described as rich and filled with love.

Jay passed away on Oct. 24 after battling cancer for 16 months.

"He was always a good fellow," Pam said. "The doctors talked about Jay being such a gentleman. Even when he was in pain, he would be quiet."

An expert at all things medical, Jay sometimes would give tips to the nurses who came in to start his IVs, Pam said.

A resident of Washington County most of his life, Jay loved to talk about growing up in "the big house" in Funkstown building models, riding bicycles, working puzzles and playing capture the flag, Pam said.

"He got his love of airplanes and all things mechanical from his dad, who worked at Fairchild," Pam said.

Throughout his life, Jay always shared his gifts.

He was a youth pastor at church, and taught Sunday School for many years.

"People told me they loved Sunday School ... when Jay was teaching it," Pam said.

Jay and Pam also loved scrapbooking and ballroom dancing.

As the cancer took its toll, Jay spent a lot of time on the computer at home, again sharing useful information he found there with others.

"Jay loved to watch the birds in our backyard feeders," Pam said. "It is a virtual wildlife sanctuary ... his bed was there so he could see."

Adjusting to life without Jay, Pam said she probably will go back to work at the Christian Light Bookstore once she gets her house in order.

"It happened so fast," Pam said, referring to Jay's illness. "I think he hung around for me."

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