On 16 March this year I received a call from Jack’s son Warren, who advised that ‘Old Jack’ (Arthur Bentley always called him that - even though AB was 12 years older!) had passed away in hospital after a short illness. Jack was 93 years old.
The Australian Deer Association had its inaugural meeting on Thursday September 4, 1969 at the Perseverance Hotel in Brunswick Victoria. At the meeting were people such as Arthur Bentley and other 'names' in the deer fraternity. Jack Smith was also there. For over 40 years he quietly served ADA in many different roles. All of them unpaid and in many cases, anonymously.
Jack was a major asset in the design and layout of the Bunyip sambar pen, was mine host at many ADA formal dinners and Editorial Panel treasurer ‘forever’.
I first met Jack at the Melbourne Branch, back in the 1980s. Always quietly spoken and ever polite, Jack was the librarian and had a stock of books which members could borrow. As an avid reader, I devoured many of them. As a hopeless deerhunter, I thought the best way to get to know the ropes and the 'big guys' was to volunteer my time to Jack. Before I knew it, I was on the Melbourne Branch Committee, State Executive, and soon, Editorial Panel Coordinator and was responsible for producing Australian Deer magazine.
There have been many Editorial Panel Coordinators, but Jack Smith has been the constant. For over 26 years as Treasurer of the Editorial Panel, he carefully managed and controlled ADA’s expenditure on this magazine. He billed the advertisers, sent out invoices, kept immaculate records and never wasted a dollar of our money. His databases and records are exemplary. It was only when he was well into his 80s that Jack retired from this role.
In recognition of Jack's unselfish contributions over the years, in 2006, the National Executive awarded Jack Smith the status of Honoured Member of the association. This honour applied across the organisation nationally and is not linked to any branch or state. The plaque was proudly displayed on the wall at his home.
The Australian Deer Association will remember Jack for his tireless commitment and support. We have lost a quietly spoken legend.
By Mark Blundell - ADA Life Member
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
Robert Louis Stevenson