James passed peacefully from this life the evening of July 13, 2020, after an extended illness. He was surrounded and cared for by his wife, children and grandchildren during the last days of his life.
Jim was born in Sumpter, SC, on January 4, 1949 to Homer Edward Smith and Margaret Fortner Smith.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Carolyn Metheny Smith, his children: David (Debra) Smith, Christina (Mathew) Weinreber, James (Melanie) Smith, and Stephanie (Brett) Taylor. 20 grandchildren: Kelsi ( F-Matt), Gwyneth, Cassey, Tyler, James (Harlee), Zachary (Lisa), Austin (Krista), Emily, Logan, Ashley, Melanie (Evan), Morgan, Grace (F-Drew), McKenna (Gabe), Brendan, Alia, Mason, Madison, Ella, and Gabriella, and 7 great-grandchildren: Lisa, Harper, Lucas, Cooper, Leonardo, Emma, and Everett.
Jim is also survived by his brother Dan (Candace) Smith, sister Linda Neiheisel, numerous nieces and nephews, and his second Spaniel Jack.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Homer E. Smith and Margaret Fortner Smith, his father-in-law, Robert D. Metheny, and his first Springer Spaniel, Jake, who he insisted be cremated so their ashes could be mixed together someday.
He spent his early years in Newton Falls, OH, lived in Cortland, OH while working at General Motors (where he started work the day after graduating from Newton Falls High School), and retired to Burnsville, VA. While working at General Motors, he obtained his Journeyman Electrician’s License through Kent State University.
To Jim, family was everything. Most vacations were spent visiting family, near and far, and he loved family reunions. When his declining health prevented most travel, he kept the phone lines busy.
He also enjoyed researching family history. When he discovered his Scottish heritage- the Henderson and Logan Clans, he embraced it fully, attending Scottish Festivals in many states- Grandfather Mountain, NC ( his mother’s home state), and Stone Mountain, GA, being his favorites- wearing his custom made kilt, taking bagpipe lessons, heading a local Scottish festival in Warren, OH, and spending 3 weeks touring Scotland.
Another interest was Sporting Clays. He shot competitively for many years and won many awards in OH, PA, GA, VA and WV. His favorite award was from the Homestead, in Hot Springs, VA.
During the Vietnam war, in 1972, Jim took a leave from General Motors and joined the Army, spending two years as an MP in Korea. He then joined the Ohio National Guard and spent another six years as an MP. He was a member of the Newton Falls American Legion for at least 46 of his 71 years.
After 30 years at General Motors- Fisher Body in Lordstown, OH, Jim retired with his wife Carolyn, to the mountains of western Virginia, where he could hunt and fish at will. He joined the Burnsville Rescue Squad, becoming an EMT, and the Burnsville Fire Department, spending 2 years as Chief. Jim loved working as an electrician and after 10 years of retirement, he joined the IBEW and worked another 7 years at numerous power plants in VA, WV and MD.
Jim was a real people person, who never met a stranger. He could talk at length to anyone on a wide variety of subjects, and didn’t mind giving you his opinion on anything. He started every morning reading 3 or 4 newspapers on his phone.
Growing up in Ohio, he never lost his love for the Cleveland Browns, or the Ohio State Buckeyes, and wore his Ohio State Jacket and hat almost everywhere he went.
A private “Celebration of his Life” was held at his home July 18.
Jim and Jake’s ashes will be sprinkled atop Grandfather Mountain in NC, and Stone Mountain in GA, next summer.