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Home > Giving > Support Hospice Care > Stories > John Smith’s Story
Carol and John Smith
John Arthur Smith’s legacy lives on in the game of euchre. John, in his humble and modest way, would smile and say to his five children, “Keep the tournament going. It’s what life’s about … family, friends and fun.”
When John died in October 2012, his son Tim suggested that the family’s annual euchre tournament be dedicated to their dad with the proceeds going to Hospice of Mercy. John’s wife, Carol, and other children, Karl, Joe, Steve and Linda, embraced the idea. While still grieving, they couldn’t think of a better way to pay tribute to a life well-lived.
When his diagnosis of a stage 4 untreatable cancer came in July 2012 and the doctor recommended hospice care, it caught everyone off guard with a gut-wrenching reality. While the family was trying to cope and understand the gravity of the situation, John took the news in stride. “Well, that is that. I’m going to go home, sit on the deck and have a beer. Whoever would like to join me can, however, we are not going to worry about this anymore today.”
So that’s what they did. Family and friends assembled for a life celebration. It was a time for expressions of love and life’s reflections. Just the way John wanted it. On his terms.
John’s other wish was to remain at home. That wish was able to be realized because John chose to allow Hospice of Mercy to help care for him in his home. And as daughter, Linda Noggle, said, “If he could tell you today, he would say it is comforting to have people from Hospice available and he is grateful for their service.”
Hospice of Mercy made the last few months easier. They came in with a team of experts that helped John with his medications and needs. Family needs were met as well, answering questions and listening to concerns.
“They were knowledgeable, compassionate and encouraging,” noted Linda. “Most importantly, they allowed Dad’s end-of-life to be the way he wanted it, on his terms.”
“Our family would recommend Hospice of Mercy to anyone. You shouldn’t try to do it alone. Hospice took care of everything.”
The last four months of John’s life truly captured his spirit and sense of fun. He spent time reliving stories with friends, enjoying nature and making others laugh. So, after his death when the idea of a euchre tournament arose with proceeds supporting Hospice of Mercy, his family and friends wholeheartedly agreed.
More than five years later, 55 to 60 players still gather every February. Money is raised through a raffle with many local businesses donating. The tournament grows every year with more people sharing their stories of being touched by cancer.
Euchre is just the game. But, for the Smith family, euchre became the vehicle for something much bigger. It embraces all the important values that were instilled in them by their husband and father. It helps heal the family, provides fun and laughter, and gives back to others by supporting Hospice of Mercy. It’s the way John would want it. On his terms.