John Sutton Smitherman

John Sutton Smitherman passed away Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Sumter Assisted Living in York, AL where he had lived for the past year. He was 100 years old.

Mr. John had a wonderful outlook on life and was well liked and respected by many. He was born January 5, 1918 to parents George Washington Smitherman and Vashti Cummings Smitherman. He was raised in a family of five siblings. His mother was a strong Southern Baptist Christian woman and no doubt her influence on his early life prepared him for his many years.

He was most proud of his military service. His years in the army followed him throughout his life. He joined the army in January of 1942. He was a World War II Veteran and a D-Day survivor. During the war, he served in England, France, Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany. His awards included: Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, EAME Medal with Silver Star (Normandy, North France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe), Distinguished Unit Badge, Belgian Fourragere Occupation Medal (Germany), Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, World War II Victory Medal, and Good Conduct Medal with Silver Clasp.

In December of 1946, while stationed at Fort Monroe, VA he married the love of his life, Elizabeth Norean Moore. Together they not only shared 20 years of army life but also 62 good years of marriage. They lived in Italy from 1952 to 1955. Their son was born in Naples in December of 1954. They enjoyed sight-seeing and getting to know the places they lived. While in Europe they visited Germany, Austria, Tunisia, Greece, and Turkey. Then he was stationed in Tokyo, Japan from 1957 to 1960. The next move was back to the states to Fort Benning, Georgia where he retired from the army as Master Sergeant in March of 1962.

After retiring, Mr. John moved his family back home to Randolph to raise his son and live a civilian life. He worked several years for Allied Products in Montevallo and Alabaster. There were many memorable experiences throughout his long life but perhaps one of the greatest highlights of his recent years was a trip he took to France when he was 92 years old. In 2010, along with his son, and his grandson and a dear friend, he returned to Normandy to trace the path he and his 4th Infantry Division took from the beaches of Paris during the Normandy Invasion.

Mr. John had a rich, full life deeply rooted in the Randolph Community. He was a loyal friend and neighbor. He was a strong supporter and dedicated lifetime member of the Randolph Baptist Church. And, for more than 72 years, he was a devoted active Mason member of Charity Lodge #331 in Randolph.

John Sutton Smitherman was a true gentleman. He was an inspiration to all those whose lives he touched. He will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed by his family and his many friends.