John Darcy Smith

“Up to only you to choose your own life. Enjoy you destiny with respect, responsibility, and love.”

John was born to a Deaf family on August 10, 1948 in East Los Angeles. John was named in honor of his grandfather. His mother found the name Darcy in a book of names. John went to the Mary Bennett oral school in Los Angeles. When he was nine years old, he transferred to the Riverside School for the Deaf. He graduated from there in 1967.

John went to Gallaudet University for two years and then transferred to California State University at Northridge, where he received a BA degree in 1975. He then moved to San Francisco and attended San Francisco State University. In order to fulfill the university’s foreign language requirement John traveled to Taiwan to study Chinese. In 1979 John received a master’s degree in fine arts from San Francisco State and accepted a position as an American Sign Language instructor there.
John was an independent and extremely creative man. He truly was an artist. He explored many different philosophies in his life. He lived his life in the manner that he wanted to and didn’t worry about what other people thought of him. John was very involved in the Deaf community and a strong supporter of ASL. He believed ASL should be left alone to its own development and not controlled by English.

In April of 1989, John was diagnosed as having progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). True to his nature, John chose the way in which he would live the little time he had and remained strong spirited as the illness rapidly progressed. John left his body on May 19, 1989 at 3:05 AM. He was in his home, as he had wanted to be. His friends were close by. John had a great and rich life. Our lives will be fuller and brighter for having known him. John will continue to live on in our hearts.

Oh Saturday, August 12 at 12:00 John’s friends will gather to sew a Names quilt in his honor. Please join us at 2362 Market St. (across from Castro). You may bring materials for the quilt or share what we collectively have. We are planning to go out to a local restaurant after we finish. We hope to see you there. If you cannot make it, please join us with your spirit.
Contributions may be made in John’s name to the Rainbow Deaf Society. Please detach the bottom part of this form and use the enclosed envelope. Please make checks payable to Rainbow Deaf Society for CAP, and note that the contribution is made in John’s honor.

Submitted by Frank Lester

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