He was welcomed by his parents James and Francis Smith, Sr., who preceded him in death in October 1974 and 1971 respectively.
Smitty, as he was fondly known by those who knew him, graduated from Stratton High School in Beckley.
There, in addition to other extracurricular activities, he played football and, because of his tenacious play on the field, was known as “The Bruiser”.
He was also a Golden Glove boxer.
After high school graduation Jim attended Blue Field College and joined the United States Air Force on March 21, 1953.
The Air Force provided him with many opportunities to grow as an individual, develop as a professional and to travel internationally.
He was a member of its military police force and continued to play football.
He rose to the rank of Tech Sergeant and retired at Fairchild Air Force Base.
On September 15, 1953 he married his college sweetheart V. Anne Hicks in Blue Field, West Virginia.
V. Anne preceded him in death on September 30, 2013.
Jim’s life in Spokane was a rich one and a contributory one.
He began working for the City of Spokane in 1978 as a Personnel Technician and rose to the position of Director of Human Resources in1983.
In that capacity he negotiated and administered labor contracts, developed training programs and recruited and mentored many the City on new employees.
He retired from the City in 2000.
Always believing that he needed to give back personally and professionally, he participated in professional, civic and other organizations.
He was an organizer of the local Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Pine State Golf Club, member and officer the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, organizer of the state chapter of the same, member of the National Management Association, member of North Side Kiwanis’s, a 33 degree Mason and an enthusiastic player on all City of Spokane Golf Tournament teams.
He served as a member of the Deacon Board, Trustee Board member, and Willing Worker at his church Calvary Baptist.
Jim leaves so many fond, warm and wonderful memories.
His sisters remember him as a protector and friend.
Margaret described him as her hero, standing tall as a tree.
A former employee remembers him as wonderful person for whom to work, “Jim always tried to do the right thing.”
His late wife once said if she wanted to try something new, “Jim never said ‘No’.”
His son, who fondly called him Dude, remembers him as a man’s man always exuding love and compassion.
Smithy’s life is celebrated by his devoted son and daughter-in-law Byron and Karyn, granddaughter Chante, great granddaughter Ta’Veyeah , all of Spokane; sisters Betty Jean Smith Garrett (Rocky Mountain, NC), and Margaret Smith Pratt (Akron, OH).
Jim leaves a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives who equally remember and celebrate him and his life.
Celebratory services will be held at Calvary Baptist Church on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 2: 00 p.m. Rev.
Andrews, Pastor and officiating.