John and Esther Smith’s 2017 letter



The calendar and the clock are racing, informing me that it’s time to stop 

procrastinating and get this letter on its way. I like a quote that a friend sent in 

his Christmas letter this year from Winston Churchill: “Christmas is a season 

not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” So here are some reflections that we have 

of 2017, of which we are most grateful. 


Travels: In February we made our annual trip to Houston to visit Esther’s cousin 

and then on to the (rental) cottage in Castroville 20 miles west of San Antonio. 

We cherish this time and are blessed by the friendship of our hosts who own the historic 

cottage. On our way home we attended the Marriage Encounter National Board Meeting. 

We didn’t tell anyone, but that was probably our last meeting. It is such a great group, we 

couldn’t bear saying “goodbye”. We’re anticipating our son and daughter-in-law, Steve & 

Linda taking our place as North Central Jurisdictional Clergy. We certainly will not be 

leaving Marriage Encounter, but we believe the Board needs new and younger people. 


In early spring we went to Holland, MI with son, Mike and g/daughter Mindy to 

the tulip festival. It was a delightful trip. In September we traveled back to Elgin. 

John was asked by our good friends Bill and Sharon Kennedy to speak at the Kwanis 

about his experiences as a young GI serving in the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Honor Guard . 

That same weekend we had the privilege of attending the South Elgin United M. Church’s 

125th Anniversary. John was pastor there from 1976-1985. We enjoyed seeing many friends 

both from South Elgin church and Wesley UMC where we attended after retiring; as well as 

former Wesley members who now live in Wisconsin. 


Probably the biggest event of our year was our moving from 89 Country Place about 4 miles 

NE Springfield to a home at 48 Glen Aire Dr. Springfield . We enjoyed many 

friendships there and loved the beautiful wooded area that housed birds, deer, etc. However, 

due to John’s pulmonary fibrosis, it had become difficult for him to navigate the (14) steps up 

to the bedroom. So we are now residents in a nice brick 6 room, 2 bath ranch home. We appreciate our new home very much –it has a lot of wide-open spaces with lots of light, etc. Butit has taken us the past 5 months to get some unforeseen repairs done and called for a lot of “creativeness” to find places for everything. It’s about the same square footage, but just not as much actual storage spaces. 


Last, but not least, we have to mention family! Here is a brief description: (oldest -youngest) 


Mike / Jie: Mindy works for school district -Champaign; Alison/ Nelson- UMC communications 

director -Madison, WI; Scarlette and Tristan- in Lisle, parents of 2 year old Sean. 


Jim/ Carol: Patrick/ Courtney: parents of 2 yr. old twin girls: Kinley and Kaedyn ; 

and Carrie/ Matt: 4-year old Creighton and 18 month old daughter, Collins. 


Steve/ Linda: parents of Ariel – works in state comptroller’s office; Johnny-Master’s/ 

Doctorate’s degree, U of I; Micah,- junior at Ill. Wesleyan . Steve/Linda , and Ariel are 

the only ones who live in Springfield. 


Jay/ Susan: Congrats to Grand-daughter Ashley who graduated this past semester 

with a B.A , has Ethan and Seth in high school and is already teaching. Lenny, who is resuming 

his last year of college at UI -Springfield’; Shelley, fairly new job with Amazon in Chicago 

area; Mom of 13 yr. old Amy and 11 yr old Manny. And congrats to Jill/Jeremy who received 

her Associate’s degree in Communications with Tyler and Adam, both in Jr. High. 


The news from our daughter, Debbie is that she still lives in the Rockford area and just 

welcomed her 7th grandchild, a baby girl, which makes her 6 grand-daughters and 1 grandson. 


We wish for you as always—-good health, joy, and God’s richest blessings. 


Love, John & Esther 


Our new address: 48 Glen Aire Dr. land phone: 217-585-8020 

Springfield, IL 62703 cell: 217-638-5548