John Smith, former Chairman of heating and plumbing merchant Smith Brothers Stores, has died aged 86.

He leaves his wife of 61 years, Edna Smith, and his four children. Smith was until last year the Chairman of Smith Brothers Ltd in Leicester, the merchant’s parent company. He continued to play an active role within Air Plants Dust Extraction, a ventilating equipment manufacturer.

Smith built on both Walter (founder) and Sydney’s (second generation) foundations, helping the company to win Wholesaler/Distributor of the Year at the Heating & Ventilation Review awards.

His son, Steven Smith, who is the merchant’s Managing Director, said John’s passing “invariably marks a sad day for Smith Brother Stores”.

He said: “Myself, along with my brothers and sister, remain extremely proud of his achievements in all areas of his life.

“All I have left to say is a great man will be sorely missed on both a personal and professional level.”