Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jack Smith 1924-2011

 Jack Smith has died. 

I've known Jack for over 30 years. From retired prizefighter to bail bondsman, I covered it all. Jack was known as the , "Mayor of South Main Street." in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Late in life he would sit in his office directly across from The Max Rosenn U.S. District Courthouse and hold "court."

I don't know how this started but every time I would encounter Jack, he would swear up a storm. There was not a single bit of malice in it. But it was intense. And Jack did it for one reason only; it would make me roar. And they weren't your run-of-the-mill swear words, not for Jack. He marched out the big-leaguers. 

The longer it took me to laugh, the worse it got.

I remember covering a proceeding at Federal Court. Jack was sitting in his office watching everything and uttered not a word. I knew something was wrong. I ran over and said, "Hello," and checked on him. He said he wasn't feeling well. He then told me to, "get out."

Jack added an extra couple of words I won't use here.

With his passing, another of the colorful figures in Wilkes-Barre is gone. He won't be forgotten.

So readers, forgive me as I say good-bye to an old friend, the only way I know how.

"Rest in Peace, Jack and $#*!@%&!"