George P. Smith Jr.

George Pearson Smith Jr., 84, of Zionsville passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 8th with family by his side. Pearson was born August 15, 1939, in Indianapolis, Indiana to George Pearson Smith and Dorothy Stafford Smith. He was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved daughter, Brooke E. Smith.

Pearson grew up in Indianapolis and attended Shortridge High School where he made many lifelong friends in the Class of 1957 before heading east for college. A graduate of Yale University (1961) and Yale Law School (1964), Pearson later returned to Indianapolis to join Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, where he had a distinguished law practice for over fifty years.

Pearson was a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Council, a member of Indiana Bar Association’s Executive Committee and former chair of the Indiana Bar Association Tax Section. In 2017, he was honored with the Patricia Paxton Wagner Award for Excellence in Estate Planning and Administration. Committed to community service, Pearson was also a loyal board member and supporter of the Indianapolis Community Tennis and Education Foundation and the Indianapolis Community Tennis Program. He was a lifelong patron of the arts, supporting and promoting many local arts organizations and always included a live performance of some kind in his plans when traveling.

Throughout his life, Pearson placed a high value on the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual engagement. He was both a deep thinker and a good listener, remaining open-minded and curious throughout the changing social and political landscape of his years. While reluctant to initiate debates, by way of thoughtful research, objective reasoning and without condescension, he quite frequently ended them. Pearson embodied integrity in his personal and professional life and was known for his gentle, measured communication style and sage counsel.

While known for his deliberate decision-making, he was not one to shy away from adventure, most notable in his retirement years, throughout which he could be found bungee jumping in South Africa, whale watching in Alaska, kayaking in the Galapagos or snorkeling with sea turtles in the Caribbean. His love of travel remained steadfast through the years, but he was also content watching a sunset from a hilltop, observing birds and deer in the woods near his home or reading the newspaper cover-to-cover, a cup of bold coffee in hand.

Pearson will be remembered for his humility, kindness and generosity as well as his dedication to his family. Gatherings with his sisters, Barbara and Patsy, (AKA “The Club”) were a weekly highlight and he could always be found on the sidelines or in the audience of his grandchildren’s events and performances. He was a loving, doting husband to his wife, Janie, during good times and hardship. Over the course of his life, he was a reliable hand eager to assist those in need, a thoughtful advisor and confidant, an over-indulgent grandfather and a beloved husband, father, friend and supporter.

Pearson is survived by his wife of 53 years, Janie Leffel Smith; his daughters Amy Smith Fries (David), Molly Smith Murphy (Rich) and four adoring grandchildren (Chloe Fries, Mosely Fries, Gavin Murphy and Piper Murphy). He will be profoundly missed by his sisters, Barbara S. Wynne and Patsy S. Kennedy along with his many nieces and nephews, extended family, friends and his faithful canine companion, Ruby.

The family wishes to extend their deep gratitude to Dr. Paul Helft and his team at IU Simon Cancer Center for their compassion, guidance and care over the years as well as Life’s Journey Hospice for their support and kindness during Pearson’s final days.