April 18, 2019 — Reverend John P. Smyth, former executive director of Maryville Academy and former president at Notre Dame High School, passed away at Loyola University Medical Center after an extended illness.
Father Smyth joined the staff at Maryville Academy on July 7, 1962, his first assignment as a priest. By 1970 he was named Executive Director and remained at Maryville in that capacity until 2003. Father Smyth assumed the responsibility of renovating a physical plant which was in desperate need of repair and securing the financial viability of the organization. Most importantly Father Smyth recognized that the children in need were the heart and soul of Maryville. Father Smyth was a constant presence throughout the campus, meeting with the children, coaching sports, and utilizing his basketball skills in pick-up games with the children.
During his tenure at Maryville, Father Smyth developed partnerships with numerous business and professional individuals who came to share his dedication to the needs of the children of Maryville. With their assistance and support the aging dormitories on the campus were replaced by smaller residences which mirrored a home environment. Changes in the physical surroundings were accompanied by extensive program changes as Maryville welcomed children with more extensive physical and psychological needs.
Father Smyth was the recipient of many awards recognizing his service and devotion to the children of Maryville. President Ronald Reagan honored Father Smith and Maryville with the President’s Child Safety Partnership Award in recognition of Maryville-Paulina Home’s program for combating child victimization. In May 2001, on the recommendation of the Governor of Illinois, Father Smyth was inducted as a Laureate in the Lincoln Academy of Illinois for his work in the field of social services.
Father Smyth gave his time, energy, enthusiasm and leadership to the service of children in Maryville’s care. His strength supported the weak, his power served the helpless, and his dedication was given freely to any youth in need.