Obituary: Jeffrey ‘Jeff’ Scott Smith
Jeffrey “Jeff” Scott Smith, a former tennis professional and longtime resident of Montclair, died on Oct. 1, 2022, after a battle with illness. He was 67.
Mr. Smith was born in 1955 at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, where his father worked for the Air Force. At age 4, his family relocated to Essex County, eventually settling in Upper Montclair.
After a successful college tennis career, Mr. Smith competed professionally on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour for more than 15 years, debuting at a world ranking of No. 636. During his career, he won a number of singles and doubles tournaments, including seven titles in a single season, and competed in both the U.S. Open men’s singles qualifying and Olympic trials.
In the tennis community, he was known for his serve-and-volley style of play and exemplary sportsmanship.
Mr. Smith married his wife, Laurie, in 1991, and became father to Jeffrey Neil in 1995.
After retiring from the professional circuit, he became a small-business owner and USPTA-certified tennis instructor at Mountainside Park in Montclair and Tiger Racquet Club in West Caldwell.
He also coached for the Montclair Kimberley Academy boys and girls tennis programs, capturing a state championship in the early 1990s.
Over the years, he channeled his patience, kindness and sense of humor to share his love of tennis with countless players of all ages, forming close bonds with many students, none stronger than that which he shared with his son.
Off the tennis court, he was a loving husband, father, brother and uncle. He donated to the Red Cross and served as a volunteer deputy with the Montclair Police Department. He was a devoted fan of Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Connors and the Green Bay Packers, as well as an avid coin collector and a man of faith.
Mr. Smith loved driving his Ford Mustang and vacationing with his family on Long Beach Island in summer.
His memory will be forever cherished by his family and the many others whose lives he touched with his compassion, warmth and sincerity.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Laurie (Neubauer) Smith; his son, Jeffrey Neil Smith; his sister, Kathy Susan Smith, and his niece, Katie James Schwester. He was predeceased by his mother, Peggy Ann Smith, and father, Ralph Neil Smith.
The family held a private service with arrangements made by O’Boyle Funeral Home in Bloomfield. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
The family appreciates any donations made to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Mr. Smith’s name.