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Alumni Happenings - November 2007
Grand County High School


John and Jana Smith
GCHS Alumni

by Jeff Richards

John L. Smith and Jana Curfman Smith, who graduated from Grand County High School in the mid-1970s, are glad they were able to raise their family in their hometown of Moab.

“I’d lived in different places when I was younger,” said John (GCHS Class of 1974), who is descended from some of Moab’s earliest pioneer families. “But after going away to college for a year or so, we moved back to Moab and got married in 1978.”

“We decided that this was where we wanted to stay,” added Jana (Class of 1976), also a native Moabite. Jana’s parents moved to Moab in 1957, right before she was born.

Jana says that she and John first met during the 1972-73 school year, when John was a junior and she was a freshman. “We dated for a while and then split up,” she said. “After graduation, he went to college at Utah State University and I later went to college at the University of Utah.”

After attending the U of U for a year and a half, Jana moved back to Moab, where John had also returned after spending a year in Logan, and was working in construction. They started dating again in 1977 and got married the following spring.

John and Jana are the parents of three children, all of whom are graduates of GCHS. They also have four grandchildren.

Oldest daughter Jamie Carter (Class of 1998) is a third-grade schoolteacher at Moab’s Red Rock Elementary. She and her husband Chris, a dirt contractor, are the parents of one son, 3-year-old Ty. The Carters live next door to John and Jana in Spanish Valley.

Second child Lindsay Dowd (Class of 2000) also lives in Moab, and is a stay-at-home mother to three young children. Lindsay’s husband Jeff is a diesel mechanic. Their two older boys are Jayden, 5, and Brenden, 2. They also have a newborn daughter named Jersey Lee, who was born in October.

Youngest child Kerby (Class of 2007) helped the Red Devils win their first-ever football state championship in the fall of 2005 (his junior year). As a senior, he represented GCHS as the Sterling Scholar in mathematics, and was named a regional runner-up. He maintained a 4.0 GPA through high school, despite missing several months while he underwent chemotherapy treatments for leukemia, which has since gone into remission. Kerby also spoke at the 2007 graduation ceremony as the class salutatorian. He lives in Salt Lake and is attending the University of Utah, where he is majoring in mechanical engineering.

Like all three of their children, John and Jana were active in sports and activities while in high school. John played football for the Red Devils (offensive and defensive tackle), while Jana played softball and volleyball and was on the drill team. Jana also participated in student government and was in the Future Homemakers of America club. “I was also the winter homecoming queen in 1976,” she added.

In 1996, John and Jana began managing Moab’s Golden Stake restaurant, which had been a popular local dining spot since the late 1960s. They managed the restaurant for about a year and a half before buying the business in February of 1998. To signal the ownership change and to avoid potential confusion, they dropped the railroad spike from the former logo and changed the spelling of the restaurant’s name to “Golden Steak.” Smitty’s Golden Steak Restaurant, open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner to a faithful following of local patrons, in addition to plenty of out-of-town visitors.

When they’re not busy running the restaurant, John and Jana can often be found enjoying the outdoors in the nearby La Sal Mountains, where they like to hike, hunt, fish, and go four-wheeling. “We just love spending time in the mountains,” said John.

The Smith family enjoys hunting almost any and every type of wild game available, including elk, deer, turkey, bighorn sheep, buffalo, rabbits, grouse, geese, and ducks. “We hunt just about anything if the opportunity comes our way,” said Jana, adding, “We also like to fish!”

After a memorable fishing trip to Alaska with Kerby this summer, they brought home a freezer full of halibut. “We’re eating lots of fish that we caught in Alaska,” said Jana.

“Our children grew up on wild game,” added Jana. “Everything we hunt or fish for, we eat.”
“We also can elk and venison meat and use it on sandwiches, and in a few other recipes that we have acquired over the years,” said Jana. “John and Kerby like it right out of the jar!”

Jana works full-time in the Grand County Clerk’s office, where she is the chief deputy clerk/auditor. She has held that position since October of 2005, after working in the office part-time for a few months prior to that. She also has 17 years’ experience in accounting.

Both John and Jana have fond memories of their former schoolteachers, and were quick to name a few of their favorites, including Gene Leonard, Val Maughan, Don Robinson, and Marion Holyoak.
“Marion was one of my most influential teachers,” Jana noted.

Even though their children are now finished with public school, John and Jana are looking forward to watching the grandkids start to grow up (their oldest grandson Jayden is currently in kindergarten).

“We still try to go to as many sporting events as we can,” adds John, noting that he and Jana are planning to travel to the Red Devils’ semifinal football playoff game vs. North Summit in Draper on Nov. 3. “That will give us an excuse to get out of town, and to see Kerby,” said John.
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