UNION CITY, Ohio — Cyril “CJ” Smith died July 27 at the age of 89, and left behind a legacy desirous of many.
The long-time businessman gained the respect of many who worked for him over the years, including his son, Scott; three local sisters — Norma Sanchez, Sandy Moore and Linda Lore — who worked with him at his restaurants; and some friends.
Over the years, he was a salesman for Electro Lux sweepers, was a Jewel T Dealer salesman and owned and operated the Pony Keg Carry-Out in Union City, Ohio, which became the Three Gables Restaurant for 25 years. He retired in 1997.
Smith reportedly loved people and they loved him.
“I worked with him for 25 years at Three Gables,” said son Scott. “Dad started out with the Pony Keg in 1972, which changed its name to CJ’s Carry-Out and later on became Three Gables. He was a good father to me. He wasn’t my boss, he was my dad. We got along fine.”
The three sisters mentioned before were the Hannan girls from Versailles.
“He was our Jewel T man in Versailles,” said another sister, Mary Hannan, who worked for Smith for a very short time unlike her sisters. “He was related to us and wenever knew it. We found out in 1985 through someone working on our family tree.”
Norma Sanchez said she was the first of her siblings to work for Smith.
“I worked with him at the Pony Keg,” she said. “He was a wonderful person. He was like our dad. He said he knew us when we were all in Pampers when he delivered Jewel T. When I went to him for a job, he hired me right away. When I worked at Three Gables, he joked with us and everything. I loved it. They [the Smiths] were so easy to work for. He would do all kinds of crazy stuff with us, and he’d help with anything.”
“He was a wonderful person to work for,” reiterated Sandy Moore. “I started working for him at the Pony Keg, probably in 1977, because I got married in 1978. I moved to Union City from Piqua and he said he’d give me a job, and he did. He hired me and I met my husband and got married. My children worked for him, too. One thing about CJ, if young kids needed a job, he gave them a job to buss tables and such. He was good to the young people…and the older ones. All of the family was wonderful. They had a party for our wedding and we still have the rocking chair they gave us 38 years ago. I waitressed and cooked for him and I couldn’t have asked for any better people to work for. All three of us [sisters] went out to see him and JoAnn before he got bad sick and they took a picture of us all. They had the photo on display at the funeral home. I will miss him.”
Linda Lore said the Smiths, CJ and JoAnn, were like her mother and father, for as long as she worked for them.
“We got along super,” she said. “He treated me really great. He was a good boss and would put you in your place if you didn’t do what you were supposed to. We also did catering. Marge Dapore and I would open up each day. I did every job in there. There wasn’t anything you couldn’t tell him. He always went around and talked to the people. If something wasn’t right, he made it right. He was a good businessman.”
“He sold us our first Electro Lux sweeper,” remarked Betty Grimes, Union City resident. “He was a good salesman, door-to-door. He was friendly and outgoing. I still have a baking dish I purchased through Jewel T from him, plus a Jewel T catalogue.”
Here are some other condolences sent to the family from the funeral home:
• Connie Bruner: “My thoughts and prayers go out to your family. He was such a wonderful man to talk to when he came to Marsh. I will miss his humor.”
• Roy and Pam Younger: “Sorry to hear about CJ. Will always remember him from the restaurant and the great pizza at the carry out. Always a nice person to talk to. God bless your family at this difficult time in your lives.”
• Kev Dotson: “Another area legend has passed. CJ will be missed.”
Smith, laid to rest in New Lisbon Cemetery, leaves behind his widow, JoAnn (Brown) Smith,to whom he was married 65 years; three children; nine grandchildren; two stepgrandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; eight great-great-grandchildren; six stepgreat-great-grandchildren; and a sister.