LAKE CITY — James Hamlin Smith of Lake City went home to see his Savior surrounded by family on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.
His Celebration of Life for 91 years on this earth will be held at Northland Community Church on Monday, August 5, at 2 p.m. Visitation will be held at the church from noon to 2 p.m. prior to the service with Pastor Randy Jenkins and Pastor David Smith officiating. The Lake City American Legion Post 300 will conduct full military honors.
Jim will be making one last trip to the BIG HOUSE for educational research at the University of Michigan before internment in the Lake City Cemetery. The family wishes to thank long time business and personal friends Dick and Susan Young for completing funeral arrangements.
Preceded in death by his parents, Elbert and Ruth Smith; one saint of a sister, Janet Edwards (Ernie); and wife of 65 years, LinaVay.
Jim is survived by his daughter, Sharon Smith of Lake City, and son, Patrick Smith of Lake City. Jim had three grandsons: Dr. Scott Smith (Katie) of Royal Oak, Lucas Smith (Tiffany Mortenson) — great-grandchildren Macey, Elyse, Avery of Zeeland, and James Smith — great-grandchildren Miley, Kadence, Jasper of Lake City. Uncle Jim had a special place in his heart for the four nieces who always took the extra time to share their love and affection in the good and challenging times in his life, Cindy, Abby, Chrissy and Ann.
Jim was born on October 17, 1927 in Almont, Michigan. He became friends with a guy named Jim Currier from Capac while playing horseshoes. During his sophomore summer the farm house burned. The family moved to Lake City to farm on the corner of McGee and Jennings south of the airport. After skipping a grade as a younger student, Jim graduated at the young age of 16 from LCHS as class Valedictorian. He served with distinction in the armed services as a Merchant Marine during WWII (he was too young for the Marines) and in the United States Army as a Sergeant during the Korean War.
After serving in the military he managed factories in Lake City, Cadillac and Big Rapids for the Kick-a-Way Fashion Industries based out of Chicago. When the plants closed he worked for Mid-Michigan Electric. Thanks to Wayne Everett he found his dream job, real estate. Jim took over Everett Realty in 1984 and worked well into his 80s before retiring.
Being active in community and civic service was important to Jim. Over the years he was involved with youth basketball, little league softball, Regional American League High School Baseball, and a member of the chain gang for Trojan football games. Jim was a city councilman from 1965-1971 and City Treasurer from 1971-1987. He was a member of the Lake City American Legion Post #300 and served as a past Post Commander. He enjoyed the monthly dance clubs held at the Legion as well as the various bowling leagues he was a member of through the years. While a realtor, he was on the Paul Bunyon Board of Realtors, Michigan Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. Jim was elected Paul Bunyon Realtor of the Year in 1976 and 1999. He was named Citizen of the Year by the Lake City Chamber of Commerce in 1994. After being a member of the Lake City Presbyterian Church for many years Jim became a member of Northland Community Church in 2004.
One of Jim’s greatest joys was taking people to the Big House to watch his Wolverines play football. Through the years Jim traveled to support the Wolverines to places like Champaign Urbana, East Lansing, West Lafayette and Lincoln. He also treated his family to the Gator Bowl, Hall of Fame Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and took a trip to Hawaii to watch Michigan and Hawaii play in 1986. To his absolute delight last week Jim received a personal letter from Coach Jim Harbaugh along with two University of Michigan Medallion coins.
Jim helped his dear buddy, George Gray build their cabin near Merritt where they hunted and played cards with their buddies for years. A piece of history is now over. Jim was the last man standing who was part of building the cabin. Another highlight for Jim was his trip to Washington D.C. on the Mid Michigan Honor Flight for Veterans to visit the various national and war monuments.
Of course Jim never missed a sporting event if at all possible. It was estimated that he attended over 4,000 sporting events and many of them were with his buddy, Ed Stephan. Jim was proud of the LCHS gymnasium for use by the community and Trojan athletes. Watching his grandkids and great grandkids through their sporting activities brought great satisfaction to him. His true loyalties were the Michigan Wolverines, McBain Ramblers (Coach Koopman, Coach VerBerkmoes, Coach Bronkema, Coach Hamlet), Lake City Trojans (Coach Kyle Smith), Hope College Flying Dutchmen (Coach Kreps), Detroit Tigers and Lions, Ferris State University Bulldogs (Coach Andy Bronkema), and Marietta College Pioneers (Coach Jon VanderWal). He was always ready to go to a sporting event no matter the time or distance.
Most importantly Jim was appreciative of his salvation and gift of eternal life with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In honor of Jim’s wishes, the family requests any monetary consideration be given to the Mid Michigan Honor Flight Inc. in respect for our veterans.
The family is being served by the Young-Holdship Funeral Home where condolences and memories by family and friends may be shared online by at www.Young-Holdship.com.