John “Smilin’ Jack” Smollon Jr., beloved local radio broadcaster and community supporter, passed away at his home April 13, 2013, at the age of 92. The family will celebrate his life with visitation services on Tuesday from 5 - 7 pm and funeral services held Wednesday at 2 pm, both will take place at Central Baptist Church in Opelika, with graveside to follow at Garden Hill Cemetery.
Known to many as Smilin’ Jack, John Edward Smollon Jr. was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY but whose home, heart and love resided in the Auburn / Opelika area. A child of the Great Depression, Smollon used his inventive mind to support his family through what many deem as America’s toughest years. A paratrooper and WWII veteran, Smollon served eight years in the military and participated in the famous Battle of the Bulge. He was decorated with a WWII Victory Medal, Purple Heart, American Theatre Metal, EAME Medal, American Defense Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Although highly decorated Smollon was most known for his 40 years at local radio station WJHO as an electrical engineer, deejay, salesman, editorialist, general manager and eventually part owner. A graduate of Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) in 1951, Smollon received a BS in Electric Engineering and during his college career began work at WJHO. Those might remember some of Smollon’s more famous shows including “The Big Saturday Afternoon Hillbilly Jamboree,” and most notably his “Auburn Tiger Field (Fight) Songs,” whose recordings can still be heard in tailgates across Auburn University on game day.
A man of wisdom and humor, Smollon enjoyed painting, singing, working in the yard, and ministering. He was a member of the Central Baptist Church, and throughout his life a supporter of community organizations including Kiwanis Club, Gideon's International, EAMC, prison ministry and many others.
Smollon was preceded by his wife, Billie Ann Smollon, parents John and Margaret Smollon and three brothers. Survived by step-daughters Denise Simmons (Jeff), Valerie Hill (Jeff), Jamie Hubbard (Joel) and step-son James Davis (Brenda); nine grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; two nephews and many friends and lovers of Christ. Memorial donations are asked to be made to Gideon’s International.
A lover of God, his family and country, Smollon was known for his particular way he ended his radio shows, and it seems appropriate to do so now. We hope to see you soon Jack, “if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise.” Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home & Crematory is directing. www.jeffcoattrant.com