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John C. "Jake" Smedley, social worker

He had worked for state Department of Welfare

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

5:21 PM EST, December 20, 2012

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John C. "Jake" Smedley, a retired social worker and former Ruxton resident, died Dec. 9 of cancer at his Silver Spring home. He was 91.

John Calvin Smedley was born in Letchworth, England. After the death of his parents, he moved to Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was raised by relatives.

After graduating from Harvard Military School in Los Angeles, he enrolled at St. John's College in Annapolis. He withdrew in 1942 to enlist in the Army.

Before he went overseas in 1944, he married Georgianna Rogers, a Roland Park resident, who then enlisted in the Women's Army Corps.

Mr. Smedley served with the 10th Infantry of Gen. George S. Patton Jr.'s 3rd Army throughout Europe. At the end of the war, he and his wife returned to Annapolis, where he graduated from St. John's in 1948.

In 1951, he earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, and he moved to Ruxton after taking a job with the Baltimore Prisoner's Aid Association. He later worked for the city and state Department of Welfare.

He left Ruxton in 1965 when he took a social work position with Children's Village, a home for troubled children, in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. He retired in 1984.

Mr. Smedley moved to Silver Spring in 2007. His wife, who had been a physical therapist at Children's Hospital, died the next year.

He enjoyed gymnastics and swimming.

"He was also an aspiring writer and music enthusiast who had written a weekly music column in the 1940s and contributed short stories to multiple small journals," said his daughter, Alice Elizabeth "Beth" Shaffer-Ludwig of Olympia, Wash.

"He also had an extensive collection of jazz music and left behind five as-yet-unpublished novels," said Ms. Shaffer-Ludwig.

He was a former communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton.

A memorial service is private.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Smedley is survived by three sons, Webb L. Smedley of Silver Spring, William A. Smedley of Bandon, Ore., and Joseph D. Smedley of Chelmsford, Mass.; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com