John Smith Obituary (1954 – 2021) – Ellensburg, WA

John Smith
John Smith was born Robert John Smith, June 19, 1954, in Ellensburg, Washington, the fourth of six children of Jack and Margaret (Wolf) Smith. The long-time Kittitas Valley building contractor and farmer passed away December 31, 2021, at the age of 67, at Virginia Mason Medical Center.
John attended Lourdes Academy, Morgan Junior High, and graduated from Ellensburg High School in 1972. He began working at a young age, delivering newspapers for the Daily Record, and performing odd jobs for the construction company owned and operated by his dad and Bob Belsaas. Completing the carpenter apprenticeship program after high school, he quickly landed back at Belsaas & Smith. There he remained as an employee – then as co-owner with Russ Belsaas – until 2008. After Belsaas & Smith, John started a one-man show – John’s Construction Services – in which he was active until his final illness.
John and Marsha Gregory were married in 1976. Their two children, Gabe and Whitney, blessed their lives immensely and kept them busy. Of all the things John created, of all the things he built, of all his accomplishments, he always believed his children and his grandchildren were his crowning achievements. He couldn’t have loved them more nor could he have been prouder.
When Marsha’s dad died in 1990, John and Marsha bought the Gregory family farm. Most of their married life John and Marsha worked together at John’s construction endeavors and on the farm.
John was active in the community. At different times over the years, he was an officer of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s organization, held various church leadership positions, was the first president of the Kittitas County Homebuilders’ Association, was a volunteer firefighter and EMT with both the West Side Volunteer Fire Company and the City of Ellensburg Fire Department, and served as a fire district commissioner for Kittitas Fire District #2. He was also a certified swim official and time clock operator, served on the Vocational Ed Building Construction Advisory Committee at Ellensburg High School, was a member of the Kittitas County Airport Advisory Committee, and was serving on the board of directors of the West Side Irrigating Company. Every summer “Rapid Fire” looked forward to being part of the bale wagon crew for Circle Lazy H Ranch.
John loved God and had committed his life to Jesus. He loved spending time with his family. He wrote stories and poems for his granddaughters, Avery and Faith, and enjoyed taking them for gelato and trick or treating on Halloween. Attending Avery’s harp recitals and seeing Faith dance in performances or competitions were precious opportunities providing Papa John cause to brag. His pride in Avery’s decision to enlist in the Naval Reserves was unparalleled. He also treasured opportunities to help his kids with projects, like building a deck for Whitney and Jeff. Hawaii was John’s happy place. The many trips there with kids and grandkids, or sisters Mary and Theresa and their husbands Joe and Ron, were counted among the very best vacations and the best of times. Spending Christmas in a castle in Tuscany, Italy with Gabe, Erika, Avery, and Faith was a once-in-a-lifetime treasured experience.
John was a regular at the local pubs, where he and his buddies – or new acquaintances – would work at solving the world’s problems. He was a favorite with the servers, especially when he showed up with fresh produce from the vegetable garden or berry patch. He loved hitting the open road on his Harley and finding new routes, places, and people. He never met a stranger.
John is survived by his wife, Marsha, his children, Gabe and Erika (Helland) Smith of Phoenix, Arizona, and Whitney Smith and Jeff Robertson of Pasco, Washington; grandchildren Avery and Faith Smith and Breann and Jeffery Robertson; siblings Joe (and Sharon) Smith, Mary (and Joe) Hubbard, Margaret Ann Smith, Jim Smith, Theresa Randall, and Enrique Sera; “conscripted” children and grandchildren, Mike, Nichole, Cale, Cassie and Callen Gray, and Todd, Susan, Sawyer and Tyson Thurnau, et al; Marsha’s siblings, and many nieces and nephews. John was predeceased by his parents, Jack and Margaret Smith, Marsha’s parents, Glenn and Catherine Gregory, nephews Ryan Gregory and Jason Smith, and brother-in-law Richard Aaby. His dear friend, brother-in-law and fellow troublemaker, Ron Randall, passed away January 14th, just two weeks after John.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 26th at 2:00 pm in the Teanaway Room at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds. (Please note the time change from an earlier post.) Because of John’s love for Hawaii, as evidenced by his prodigious collection of Hawaiian shirts, we would appreciate it if everyone who attends would wear their favorite Hawaiian shirt in his honor. That visual would make him smile. And John had a great smile.
To folks who may desire to make a contribution in John’s memory, the sanctity of human life was a priority to John, and he was a staunch supporter of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Kittitas County, 111 E. 4th Ave., Ellensburg, WA 98926 ( And thirty-six years of involvement in the fire service in Kittitas County taught him the importance of providing life-saving equipment to benefit our local community through contributions to Kittitas Valley Firefighters Life Support Fund, PO Box 981, Ellensburg, WA 98926. Online condolences may be left at
Brookside Funeral Home is caring for the family.

Published by The Daily Record on Mar. 5, 2022.

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