Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0644
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Full Text of HR0644  102nd General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Dr. John
4Walter Smith Jr., who passed away on January 8, 2022; and
5    WHEREAS, Dr. Smith was born in Chicago to John Walter Sr.
6and Theresa Smith on July 19, 1937; he attended A.O. Sexton
7Elementary School and Dunbar Vocational School, where he
8excelled in athletics and academics; in 1954, he enlisted in
9the U.S. Air Force and earned a medal for good conduct in 1957;
10after his honorable discharge, he attended Chicago Teachers'
11College (Chicago State University) and then Northern Illinois
12University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical
13Education; he was a standout on the Huskie football team and
14was named College Academic All-American for the 1962 season;
16    WHEREAS, Dr. Smith began a 40-year career in education
17with Chicago Public Schools in 1963, when he accepted a
18position as a physical education teacher at Harlan High
19School, where he also served as an assistant football coach;
20he earned a master's degree in Education from Indiana
21University and a doctorate in Philosophy of Education
22Administration from the University of Illinois Chicago; his
23CPS career included establishing and building football



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1programs at Kenwood and Percy L. Julian High School, serving
2as athletic director and physical education chair, and
3becoming an administrator with the Department of Sports
4Administration and principal of Adam Clayton Powell Elementary
5School; he retired from the Chicago Public Schools as the
6executive director of the Department of Sports Administration
7and Facilities Management in 2003; after retirement, he
8continued to consult with public school districts on creating
9and managing athletic programs and was instrumental in
10assisting the Philadelphia Public School District pattern
11their athletic program after the Chicago model; and
12    WHEREAS, Dr. Smith coached football and track and field at
13Harlan High School starting in 1963 but also established
14programs in these sports at the newly opened Kenwood High
15School; in 1975, he began a program at Percy L. Julian High
16School, and after two years, it was promoted to the "Red" top
17division in the Chicago Public League and became a Public
18League dynasty for the next 12 years; they won a Blue-Green
19championship and seven Public League championships in that
20span of time, including two Prep Bowl championships versus the
21Chicago Catholic League; the 1979 Prep Bowl triumph over
22Joliet Catholic High School was a landmark victory and only
23the second Public League victory in 20 years; the victorious
241989 Prep Bowl team set the record for the most points in a
25game; the Orange and Brown produced a significant number of



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1all-Public League selections, all-state honorees, major
2college players, and seven individual NFL alumni; and
3    WHEREAS, Upon retiring as a teacher and coach, Dr. Smith
4assumed the position as the football coordinator for the
5Chicago Public Schools Department of Sports Administration; he
6later became the executive director of and ushered in sweeping
7changes to the interscholastic programs; during his tenure as
8executive director, he doubled the number of paid coaches
9available per sport, helped institute a no pass-no play policy
10for athletic eligibility, clarified and enforced student
11transfer rules, and realigned sports conferences with equity
12according to competitive levels; he also re-instituted the
13indoor track and field program, established freshmen levels of
14competition, and implemented summer sports camps; lacrosse,
1516-inch softball, golf, water polo, and elementary double
16dutch were also added to the program of sports offerings; he is
17credited with organizing and implementing the first structured
18sports program for elementary schools, which covered 14 sports
19including tackle football; the eight years of his progressive
20and ingenious leadership at Chicago Schools Sports resulted in
21increased student participation in athletics and laid the
22foundation for more competitive programs; his leadership
23included ensuring the welfare of all stakeholders, from
24student-athletes to the community at large; his vision of fun,
25safe, and engaged sport competitions led him to initiate the



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1"Orange Jackets" CPS Sports Security; and
2    WHEREAS, Dr. Smith was awarded the Chicago Public League
3Coach of the Year five times, Operation PUSH Coach of the Year,
4Coca-Cola Man of the Year, and a National Football Foundation
5and a Hall of Fame Distinguished American Award; he was
6inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches
7Association Hall of Fame; and
8    WHEREAS, Dr. Smith married the love of his life, Deborah
9Carter, in 2002, and they enjoyed world-wide travels and
10adventure; as a father and scholar, he imparted the importance
11of education not only to his children but as a father-figure to
12a host of students, as well; and
13    WHEREAS, Dr. Smith was a proud lifetime member of Kappa
14Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. Chicago Alumni Chapter, serving as
15the Polemarch from 1991 to 1992; he was also a member of the
16National Alliance of Black Public School Administrators,
17Operation PUSH, the Chicago Urban League, and the Chicago
18Principals and Administrators Association; he was an avid
19scuba diver and skier and a member of the Chicago Sno-Gophers
20Ski Club; later in life, he was active in the Slow Breakers;
22    WHEREAS, Dr. Smith is survived by his wife of 18 years,



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1Deborah; his children, Ginger Bryant, Sheila Morris, Thomas
2(Andria) Smith, and Kelli (Curtis) Smith-Cureton; his
3stepchildren, Brandy (George) McCoy, Mandy Newman, and ONeal
4Carter; his grandchildren, Timothy Bryant Jr., Tinger Bryant,
5Kimberly Porter, Staci Morris, and Ariana Smith; his
6great-grandchildren, Kadon Martin and Iverson Bryant; his
7siblings, Carol Edwards, Michael (Zella) Smith, and Robin
8Smith; his nieces and nephews, Deseray (Nathan) Moore, Derick
9Johnson, Leonard Edwards, Eron Smith, Brandon (Meah) Smith,
10and Danielle Smith (Wesley Pepper); and an extended family of
11players and coaches, numerous dear friends, appreciative
12students, and respected colleagues; therefore, be it
15we mourn the passing of Dr. John Walter Smith Jr. and extend
16our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and all who
17knew and loved him; and be it further
18    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
19presented to the family of Dr. Smith as an expression of our
20deepest sympathy.