on June 5, 2013 - 8:55 PM
July 28, 1922 – June 1, 2013
John Daniel Smith Sr., of East Aurora, art director for Fisher-Price for more than two decades, died Saturday in Buffalo General Medical Center. He was 90.
Born in Savannah, Ga., he developed his interest in art as a boy. He served in the Army during World War II as a cartographer with the 88th Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy. He attained the rank of staff sergeant and was awarded the Bronze Star.
Returning from service, he studied art at the Pratt Institute in New York City, graduating in 1949, and lived and worked in New York for the next 10 years, doing illustrations, advertising, packaging design and film strip art for children.
In 1959, Mr. Smith began doing freelance and consulting work for Fisher-Price, then moved to East Aurora. As art director, he oversaw a period of rapid expansion and creativity at the company.
After he retired, he continued to serve as an art consultant for Fisher-Price in the 1980s and established his own firm, Graphic Color Associates Ltd., with his wife.
He gave frequent lectures and demonstrations of painting techniques for colleges, community groups and art clubs. His watercolors of landscapes are exhibited in Western New York, Charleston, S.C., and Savannah. He also enjoyed drawing cartoons and creating personalized cards for family and friends.
Mr. Smith was a member of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, the East Aurora Art Society, the Fine Arts League of Buffalo, the Art Directors-Communicators of Western New York, the Color Marketing Group and the American Legion.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Annette Conlin; two sons, Daniel and Eric; two daughters, Andrea Wyanski and Heidi Poore; and a sister, Martha E.
A celebration of his life will be held at 5 p.m. June 15 in the Salon Room of the Roycroft Inn, 40 S. Grove St., East Aurora.