Jack passed away peacefully at home with family by his side on August 24, 2020, at the age of 95. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ellen Rose Growdon Smith.
Jack is survived by their five children: Jackellen (Zamora) Hakes of Modesto; Susan (Inderbitzen) Hurst of Nashville, TN; Jill (Hamilton) Hartmann (Gary) of Ukiah; Jeri Gilley of Modesto; and Grant Smith (Holly) of Ripon. He also leaves their eight grandchildren: Jeff Zamora of Bend, OR; Kelly (Hamilton) Aartman of Ripon; Janise (Zamora) Peepgrass of Modesto; Steve Hamilton of Peoria, AZ; Grant Inderbitzen of Sacramento; Paul Hamilton of Ripon; Juli(Hamilton) Almeida of Ripon; Sarah (Hurst) Dalske of Nashville, TN and two step-grandchildren, Alyssa Feebeck-Smith and Aimee Feebeck, both of Ripon. He is also survived by their thirty-three great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren. Jack is also preceded in death by their grandsons, John David Zamora and Joel Marcus Zamora, and their great grandson, Christopher Kyle Sabean.
Jack was the third of four boys born to John Henry & Donna Merle Smith in Shafter, CA, on July 15, 1925. The family moved to Santa Maria, CA, and then to Fresno, CA, where Jack attended high school and met Ellen. He will be missed by his surviving brother, Richard Smith (Lorene), of Addy, WA. He will also be missed by Ellen's two surviving siblings, William Growdon of Ventura, CA, and Dorothy Cornacchia (Nick) of Fresno, CA, and John Dandois of Merced, CA.
He moved his family from Fresno to Modesto in 1957 when a good friend, Grant Weber, convinced him to come work for him selling trailers for the Utility Trailer dealership. He eventually managed this facility. They also sold tank trailers for different manufacturers. Jack enjoyed this side of the business more and wanted to go out on his own and be his own boss. With virtually no money, but with the help of a close friend, Art Nunes, (who remained his great partner until Art's death), he opened a tank repair shop in 1967. They repaired all types of tankers and sold other manufacturers' new tankers. Soon they started building their own tanks and took on the name of West-Mark. In 1969 they purchased land and built the new facility in Ceres, CA, which remains the headquarters to this day. The company grew and expanded to a new manufacturing plant in Atwater, CA, in 2000, and added repair shops in Bakersfield, CA, and Fairbanks, AK. West-Mark is now a major manufacturer of all types of stainless steel tankers and equipment. It has grown to well over 200 employees. Jack was admired and respected by all in the industry for his honesty, straight-forwardness, and integrity. His employees absolutely loved him and many have been with him for many, many years, with some having children and even grandchildren working there, which says it all. Jack continued to come to the office until just a short time ago and was always a joy for everyone who worked there.
On the personal side, Jack grew up with, and loved, horses, making many pack trips out of Kennedy Meadows and the Yosemite stables up until just a few years ago. For a few summers, he was a popular packer in Yosemite, known for opening a bottle of wine and reading his cowboy poetry to the riders around the campfire after a day's ride.
Jack was a parishioner of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church and an active parent at both St. Stanislaus Catholic School and Central Catholic High School where his children attended.
The family would like to thank Jack's caregivers and SevaHospice, who so lovingly cared for him.
Visitation will be held at Franklin & Downs Chapel on McHenry Avenue, Modesto, CA, on Monday, August 31, 2020, from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm, with the recitation of the Rosary at 6:00 p.m. A private funeral Mass for family only will be celebrated Tuesday morning, September 1. The family wishes to welcome all who knew and loved Jack to the committal and internment where the eulogy will be given at St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery on Scenic Drive starting at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, September 1, 2020.
Remembrances can be made to the following: St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Fr. John Silva Foundation and Seva Hospice.
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