John W. Smith - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

John W. Smith

May 15, 1935 - June 28, 2024

John W. Smith was born in Stonewall, NC on May 15, 1935. He was the son of Vander & Annie Mae Smith (Johnson). John devoted his life to ensuring his family had a safe and loving home. He had the gift of gab and took pleasure in meeting new people. In his free time, John enjoyed hanging out with his friends, ensuring his cars were in tip top shape, driving south to visit his family, watching westerns, cutting the grass, playing pool and Pitty Pat, and listening to music, especially James Brown and Aretha Franklin.

John was one of three children. John fell asleep in death in Wilmington, Delaware on June 28, 2024. In the early stages of his life, John moved from Lumber Bridge, NC to Brooklyn, NY. At 18 years old, he arrived in the Big Apple, commonly known as New York City. Lovingly known as “Johnny Boot,” he met the love of his life, Hazel Vanderhorst and they became inseparable. The two love birds pronounced their love in a public declaration on May 28, 1960. As the years went by and their love grew, they decided to raise a blended family of five children. Lewis, Anthony, Sput, Jackie and Alton; the apples of their eyes.

John was well known for his stylish clothes, neat demeanor, and his perfectly manicured mustache. As time progressed, he became known as “Cowboy” due to the various cowboy hats and boots he wore. He loved cars and made sure his vehicles were clean and always running correctly. He was willing to help anyone in need of help. He took pride in any job he held and won awards for perfect attendance. These were some of John’s favorite sayings: “If you talk too much, you’ll make people hate you.” Or “If you say huh, you can hear.” His memory was amazing. You could ask him something that happened 50 years ago and he would remember it verbatim.

In December 1977 and after 44 years of living in Brooklyn, John and Hazel decided to plant their last set of roots in Delaware. He genuinely enjoyed the change of scenery and a new pace of life after retiring from Morton International in 1997.With his warm personality, he openly welcomed those accepted by his family. John & Hazel traveled every summer to visit their families in North and South Carolina. They enjoyed these annual trips.

Like any other parent, he did not like to see his children upset with one another. Family was everything to him, especially his grandchildren. He did not have a problem babysitting his grandchildren or picking them up or taking them to daycare or school.

John is preceded in death by his wife, Hazel Smith; parents, Vander & Annie Mae Smith; sons, Lewis & Anthony Vanderhorst. He is survived by his children, Osmund Smith (Sput), Gwendolyn (Jackie) & Lambert A. Brown, Jr (son-in-law), Alton & Sandra Smith (daughter-in-law); his grandchildren, Shante & Micah Chamberlain, Dianaja (Dee) & Keith Nazario, Shian Smith, Deonjane (Deon) Brown, Rihanna Smith, Taylor Smith and Atalia Nickey; his great grandchildren, Justin Baloga, Freya Rodriquez, Reign Nazario & Kenzo Teat; his sister, Eula Ware; his brother, Leroy Smith, As well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.

John was dearly loved by all and will be sorely missed.

A private service for the family will be held on Wednesday, July 10, 2024.


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9 Condolences for John W. Smith

  • We love your family and we’re gonna miss cowboy, He always made you feel so special, People never remember what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel and he was a prime example of that, He always remember all the stories you told him, It Is an honor to be Part of the Smith family.

  • Oh my brother! John was loved! My condolences to the family! John was married to my sister Hazel and he became family! He will truly be missed!

  • Sending my love and condolences to the Smith family, John aka cowboy was a caring and loving man who always had your back especially his family. He definitely had the gift of gab he could hold a extensive conversation not only with you but with everyone in the room and focus on their interest.. he would definitely be Miss The Smith/brown household wouldn’t be the same without him being there.

  • To the Smith Family, I send my deepest sympathy, and pray that or Grand Creator and Loving Father Jehovah God gives you the comfort and strength you need.

  • To Gwen and Family May God comfort you during this difficult time. John Cowboy Smith will forever ring joy in your hearts and great memories in your mind!

  • Cowboy you are going to be missed. We talked about the cowboy shows all the time a lot laughters..

  • Hey cowboy you are going to be missed. We shared a lot of memory together.

  • Deepest sympathy to my cousins and other family members in the loss of your father. Y’all are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless

  • Osmund, Jackie, Alton, your Dad John was the coolest of the cool and I have fond memories of the times spent at your house during our childhood. He was always kind, always welcoming and had a unique sense of humour. His warmth and generosity touched many lives, including mine. I’m so glad my family got to meet Hazel and John on our last visit. In our house, Hazel and John are and will be deeply missed.