Development & Alumni Relations Office 


John Hartley Smith, MB BCh BAO 1949 (died 1 November 2006)

(Obituary and Appreciation by Brian Lowry)

John Smith died in Vancouver, BC after a short illness on November 1st, 2006. 

He was born in Dungannon and attended Methodist College before going to Queen’s where he graduated in medicine in 1949.  He embarked on a career in Public Health in the specialty of Occupational Health and obtained higher qualifications in that specialty in England (Diploma of Industrial Hygiene), Canada (Diploma of Public Health and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada) (FRCPC) and the United States of America from the Board of Preventive Medicine. 

John had a distinguished career in the British Columbia Ministry of Health where he headed the Division of Occupational Health and subsequently rose to be the Assistant Deputy Minister.  He was a member and often chair person of many Provincial and Federal Committees and Boards on Pollution, Environment, Hazardous Waste Management and involving many different industries including mining, milling, smelting, food processing and agriculture to name just a few. 

John loved rugby and played for Queen’s, Collegians, Ulster and Ireland, (the latter over three seasons when he was capped 13 times) and the Barbarians Rugby XV.  Indeed it was on a Queen’s rugby tour where he met his future wife, Sheila, on a train journey to Vancouver. 

After emigration to Canada he continued to play rugby for many years even as a senior in Vancouver.  He participated fully in community activities serving as president of the BC Rugby Union on two separate occasions as well as being a Director of the Canadian Rugby Union over many years.  He served on the Board of his Church (St. Andrews Wesley) for many years and was Chairperson for two years. 

John contributed to many organizations such as the Arthritis and Rheumatism Society, Canadian Red Cross, Vancouver Neurological Society and was advisor to Substance Abuse Organizations where he served as an international non alcoholic Trustee for Alcoholics Anonymous. 

In all of his endeavours John enjoyed the love and support of his wife, Sheila, and together they raised three sons, one of whom is also a Queen’s medical graduate.  He gave of himself and his time to many organizations and a helping hand to many people.  He was universally liked, because he was a fair-minded man who provided a good dose of steady ‘Ulster commonsense’ and had a great sense of humour.  


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