George J. Smith, 89, of Key Colony Beach, Florida, passed away Jan. 2, after a brief, unexpected stay in Fisherman's Hospital, Marathon.
He was feeling fine at Christmas and celebrated the holiday with family.
George was born April 5, 1925, in Buffalo to Clara and John Smith in a family of nine: the late Dorothy Schweitzer, Ralph Smith, John Smith, Robert Smith, William Smith and Richard Smith; surviving are Rita (Joe) Sciascia and Fr. Herbert F. Smith, S.J. He now joins his beloved wife, the late Mary A. Smith, and son, the late George B. (Patty). He is survived by his children, Linda (Don) Kutzbach, Bonnie (Mike) Leto, John (Vikki) Smith, all of Grand Island, and Sharon (Pete) Johnson of Key Colony Beach; grandchildren Donny (Chantel), Lou Ann (John) Kane, Emily Smith, Jonathan Smith, Zaida Smith, George A. Smith, Heather (Matt) Ahr, George W. Smith, Brian Smith, Brandon Smith and the late Amy Jo Kutzbach; and many great-grandchildren; also survived by his very dear friend Kathryn Sharp, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
George attended St. Michael's School and Hutch Tech in Buffalo. He served in both the U.S. Army and Merchant Marines in the World War II era. He started his own masonry construction company, Ajax-Smith Inc. in 1955 and restored many prominent buildings in the area. He became a real estate entrepreneur, buying and selling varied properties, bowling alleys, golf courses, apartment buildings, warehouses and land. He truly enjoyed life and the challenge of hard work, taking his first job after school at age 10 to help his young widowed mother and eight siblings. He enjoyed boating and golf. He and Mary moved to the Keys in the late 1960s. He lived there for many years and spent summers along the Niagara River on Grand Island.
Mr. Smith was a member of San Pablo Catholic Church, Marathon, Florida, St. Stephen R.C. Church and the Knights of Columbus on Grand Island, the Marathon Yacht Club and the Buffalo Launch Club, past owner and member of River Oaks Golf Club and past member of Sombrero Country Club.
George was known for his generosity to others throughout his life.
A Mass of Celebration of George's life will be held at San Pablo Church, Marathon, Florida, on Friday, Jan. 9, at 11 a.m. Arrangements were made by Dean-Lopez Funeral Home, Big Pine Key (no prior visitation).
A memorial and celebration of his life will be also held in Buffalo at a future date for family and friends. If desired, memorials can be made in his name to the Jesuit Community at St. Joseph's University, 261 City Ave., Merion Station, Philadelphia, PA 19066-1835, where his brother, 92 years old, still resides; or St. Stephen School, 2080 Baseline Road, Grand Island NY 14072, where George helped as a founder of the school attended by his children and grandchildren.