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Welcome to the memorial page for

John David Szmaj

October 14, 2017

On October 14, 2017 Johnie quietly passed away, with family by his side, after a battle he lost to cancer. He fought with dignity and was determined to assume a normal life, refusing to give into this cruel disease.

Johnie was born July 21, 1959 in Youngstown Ohio, the first born of Casimir and Alexandra Szmaj. Johnie attended St. Stanislaus Grade School, Woodrow Wilson High School and graduated from Youngstown State University earning a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He began his work career with Ormond Stores at the age of 14 stocking shelves and went to work full time in store management after college. Johnie left his home town of Youngstown, OH making stops in Albany NY, Washington DC and finally settling in Boston where he remained for over 25 years, most recently with Bed Bath & Beyond. It is in Boston where Johnie found his true love, soulmate and husband – Troy Adam Brassard.

Johnie leaves behind his siblings Teddy (Kathy) Szmaj; Ella (Bob) Jornigan and their children Lexxi, Evan, Kyle and Taylor; Greg (DeAnna) Szmaj and their twins, Grayson and Isabella. Brother-in-law Joseph Brassard, sister-in-law Norma (Jeff) Kelley; nieces Christine (Rich), Caroline (Adam), Lexi and nephews Liam, Richard and Thomas. Mother-in-law Mary Brassard Lirette and her husband Ed. Preceding Johnie in death was his husband Troy, his parents and sister-in-law Cherylynn Brassard.

For those who knew him, Johnie was simply Johnie; a one-of-a-kind guy. Words that describe him are genuine, dedicated, honest, big-hearted, and funny. But above all, he was extremely generous, both of time and resources. He was the first to arrive and the last to leave. He always remembered special occasions and would send cards or gifts or the timely phone or text message. You name it, Johnie remembered it. He never thought of himself, he always took satisfaction when the people around him were “ok” or “got it” or “were comforted”. If you ever needed anything, you could count on Johnie. He enjoyed traveling with family and friends, be it Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Las Vegas, Hawaii and the vacation Mecca – Youngstown Ohio. Most of all, Johnie loved interacting with people, enjoyed social gatherings, concerts, family get-togethers and even started his own “Polish Day” celebration replete with traditional ethnic food, particularly his famous Pickle Soup.

Johnie will be remembered by all, not because of huge accomplishments in his life, but because of the little everyday things and idiosyncrasies’ that Johnie did for each and every person he knew.

A Memorial Tribute will be held on November 12th at 1:00pm at the Riverview/Portuguese Hall, 13 Port St. Hudson MA and December 10th at 5:00pm at the Davis Center/Mill Creek Park, Youngstown OH. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Dana Farber Cancer Center (

Charitable donations may be made to:

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
450 Brookline Ave., Boston MA 02215

 Service Information

Memorial Gathering
November 12, 2017

1:00 PM
Riverview/Portuguese Hall
13 Port St.
Hudson, MA 01749

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