Jay Dee Smith, 82, of Schererville, Indiana, passed away on April 27, 2023, surrounded by his loving wife and family. Jay was born on February 5, 1941, in Iowa. He is survived by his beloved wife Jean and his seven children, Micki (Bob Buteyn) Smith, Dave (Darcy) Smith, Jennifer (Patrick) Noonan, Jeffery (Rita Bashaw) Smith, Mandi Czyszczon, Curtis (Jhenn) Sanchez, and Mindy Sanchez. He is survived by his eight grandchildren Erica, Elisha, Jason, Tina, Sam, Elle, Mia, and Annalia and eight great-grandchildren, all of whom he loved very much. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth and Lawrence Smith, and his first wife and devoted mother of their children, Barbara Smith.
Jay’s work-life centered around restaurants and hospitality. Jay was also very active in the First Presbyterian Church of Highland, Indiana, where he practiced radical hospitality as an elder and deacon. He led adult and youth study groups, organized a meditation class, and was active in several ministries of the church. After retiring from restaurant work, he went back to study to become a lay pastor and served in the Lake Village Presbyterian church from 2009-2012 as their pastor and shepherd. He also followed the Buddha way and took the Five Precepts in 2018 from the Kwan Um School of Zen. He was given the Buddhist name Chong Hae (Clear Wisdom).
But his favorite way to spend time was centered around his family. He was always there for them, whether he was teaching them new ideas, sharing his passions for fine arts, playing chess, attending musical performances, or sporting events. He loved traveling, bakeries, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.
Jay was passionate about giving back, helping, and serving others. He cared deeply about social justice and environmental conservation. He made a difference in the lives of everyone he met and positively impacted our community. His spirit will live on in his family and all those whom he encountered.
Jay’s family will host a visitation on Friday, June 9, 2023, between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm at Hillside Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 8941 Kleinman Rd (one block south of Ridge Rd) Highland, IN, 46322. A Celebration of Life worship service will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at 10:00 am at the First Presbyterian Church of Highland, 8727 Delaware Street, with Rev. Tyler Orem officiating. Donations can be given to the First Presbyterian Church of Highland, Empty Circle Zen Sangha, or Hospice of the Calumet Area, in Jay’s name.
For additional information, please contact Hillside Funeral Home & Cremation Center Konnie Kuiper-Michael Kuiper-Vass by calling us at 219-838-0800 or visiting us at www.hillsidefhcares.com
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