James Francis Smith, 88
James Francis Smith spent his life devoted to his family and serving his country and community. He was born Jan. 1, 1930, in South San Francisco, Calif. He met and married Pat Smith at the tender age of 20, just before joining the Navy later the same year. Despite being stationed in Japan for the first years of their marriage, Jim and Pat spent 64 wonderful years together, raising their three kids and enjoying eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Jim was a loyal and committed man who made a career serving. After his years in the Navy stationed aboard the USS Ajax, he dedicated more than 25 years to fighting fires with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. In his professional life, Jim was an extraordinarily hard worker but he knew how to have fun, too. He was always up to some prank or gathering folks for one of his famous stories. When he wasn’t serving his community professionally he was regularly stepping in to help friends and neighbors repair broken fences or mow their lawns.
Jim loved his family deeply and was intensely proud of them. As grandchildren and great-grandchildren arrived, he welcomed them with fervor and loved having new generations to teach how to work hard and have fun. He proudly instructed his grandchildren in everything from how to wash a car and dig a hole to how to swing a golf club and water ski.
Those who knew Jim, knew his intensity at the card table, his bright smile and his outgoing nature. We knew to expect a good ribbing or joke when we saw him, but we also knew that in him we had a friend we could count on, someone who showed up in practical and meaningful ways, who wouldn’t cut corners and wouldn’t let us either. He didn’t always know how to put words to his love but he sure said, “I love you” in the countless ways he helped, joked, taught and sacrificed for his family and friends.
Jim died on Feb. 21, 2018, after a full and vibrant life, and our lives are less without him. He leaves a lasting legacy in his work ethic, commitment, willingness to help those in need and dedication to his family. Jim leaves behind his children Steve and Patti Smith, Frank and Melinda Thomas, and Dave and Susie Bailon, as well as his eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. We love you and miss you!
A memorial service for Jim will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018, at Yates Funeral Home — Coeur d’Alene Chapel, 744 N. Fourth St., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814.
Yates Funeral Home has been entrusted with the care of arrangements. Please visit Jim’s memorial page and sign his online guestbook at www.yatesfuneralhomes.com.