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John Lincoln Smith
February 12, 1924 ~ August 20, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old
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John Lincoln Smith left this earthly plain on the morning of 20 August 2023, the day following a visit by
many family members. He was six months shy of achieving a century of life.
John was born 12 February 1924 in Buffalo, New York, son of John Patrick Smith (1882-1969) and
Pauline Carolina (Jauch) Smith (1884-1963).
John went to University of Buffalo, and with support of the U.S. Army, completed his medical degree (as
first lieutenant) in 1946. The day of graduation, John married Miriam Sess. They celebrated their 75th
wedding anniversary in 2021.
John and Miriam moved to California in 1949 where they raised four children in Long Beach, Laguna
Niguel, and La Jolla. The couple retired to Solana Beach where they lived independently until Miriam’s
death in December 2021. John then moved into the memory care unit of Oakmont of Escondido Hills.
John made a long career in medicine: he completed his initial internal medical residency at Buffalo
Deaconess in 1946, followed by a short stint at Fort Sill, Oklahoma (where he also achieved the rank
of Captain in the US Army), then a medical residency in Van Nuys, California. After practicing
Internal Medicine through the 1950s, he shifted to radiology at the Veterans Administration in Long
Beach, California, specializing in Nuclear Medicine, Radiation Therapy, and Interventional
In 1966, John moved his family to La Jolla, California where he was head of Radiology at Scripps
Clinic and Research Foundation between 1966 and 1976. In 1977, he became President of the
Scripps Clinic Medical Group; about 1981, he became senior vice president of Health Care at
Scripps. He retired in 1993.
John and Miriam enjoyed traveling, including trips to Europe, China, Tahiti and Australia, and were early
participants in the U.S.-based elder hostel movement. They enjoyed painting classes for many years
during their retirement. John, in particular, enjoyed challenging his teacher and fellow art students with
abstract interpretations of pretty much anything.
His children, their spouses and his grandchildren remember with fondness (and a bit of discomfort) John’s
persistence in exploring their thoughts and philosophies about the past, the future, and the meaning of
life. All who knew him– family, colleagues and friends– knew that any dinner with John would include an
John is predeceased by his wife Miriam, his parents John Smith and Paulina (Jauch) Smith, his brother
Howard Smith, and sister Mildred (Smith) Heffley. He is survived by four children and their spouses,
Sandra & Jack Lewin, Gale & Joe Kraps, Bradley & Mary Lou Smith, and Jillaine Smith & Philip
Bogdonoff; seven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren;
nephews John Heffley and Peter Heffley; Gary Dye, Kathy (Dye) Klinger, Craig Dye and Shelley (Dye)
Stone, along with in-laws past and present. A joint memorial for John and Miriam will be held in the near
His family thanks the staff at Oakmont and all the Hospice caregivers for the loving kindness they showed
John during the last year-and-a-half of his life.
Bonham Brother & Stewart Mortuary and Cremation Service is assisting the family.