Jean was born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and grew up in Independence, Missouri. She moved to Ft. Walton Beach, FL in 1955, and knew that she had found heaven on earth. She died on May 15, 2009, at the age of 83.
Jean was known worldwide for her love of bonsai. She was a founding member of Bonsai Societies of Florida and Ft. Walton Beach Bonsai Society. She was the second president of BSF and held many offices in her home club in Ft Walton Beach. During her term as president of Bonsai Clubs International she was successful in her efforts to make it a truly international organization.
For many years, she was the BSF liaison to the Florida Prison System at Stark. She was very proud of the fact that the bonsai program resulted in zero recidivism for those inmates with whom she worked. The program continues today through the efforts of Bonsai Society of Florida. Jean also chaired the BSF Visitors Bureau for many years.
The National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. dedicated the Chinese Scholar’s Studio in the name of Jean C. Smith. She received numerous honors and accolades over the years for her tireless efforts in the bonsai community.
We will truly miss her.