Featured, Local History, The Centennial History of Hurricane

Centennial History of Hurricane (1994 Edition): John W. Smith

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. In 1994, the Centennial Committee published a follow up book which included family histories which were not submitted in time for the 1988 Centennial History. This week’s selection is the 44th history from The Centennial History of Hurricane WV Continued — 1994.


John W. Smith was born March 9, 1905, the son of John H. and Victoria Stanley Smith. He moved to Hurricane in the late 1930’s and in 1944 was married to Mildred Kirby. They lived on W. Main Street and were the parents of Sharon, Fred and Teresa.

Johnny served the City of Hurricane as Chief of Police and held that office longer than any of his predecessors. In the early years of his career he was the only policeman the town had. In that capacity, he obviously became one of the better known citizens of Hurricane.

Much could be said of his contributions to the town, but we would only submit a view of Johnny as through the eyes of a daughter. Admittedly, it is a personal view.

March 9, 1905 – March 28, 1986

His name was “Johnny Smith”. He was a husband, father and grandfather but above all he was a patiotic citizen, even before he had a title with city government he was involved. Sitting in on City Council meetings, being active in the American Legion, driving the streets late at night to be certain children were inside and safe and always there lending a helping hand at civic activities. Teenagers and children knew him well. He was the chaperone at dances and the policeman at the school cross walks to ensure all children’s safety.

Children from the ages of 1 to 18 looked up to him. He was always available, not to criticize the youth of Hurricane but to help them in any way he possibly could by sponsoring a teen activity or even lending a listening ear.

If he was needed by a friend, a stranger of the City, he was there. It didn’t matter the time of day of night. He was always reliable.

Today, his friendly smile, soft voice and gentle wave of his hand are very much missed. No more can you walk the main streets of Hurricane and hear his soft & friendly Hello. Within himself he stood for honesty, integrity and dignity. He had love for his home town and fellow man. Indeed, he was a true American Citizen.

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