James B. Smith, Waupaca, Wisconsin, age 90, passed away on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King, WI.
He was born October 10, 1924 in the Town of Harrison, Sioux Co., NE; son of Jennings Smith and Anna (Mitchell) Robe. He will be deeply missed by all of his family and friends.
Jim is survived by: children: Randall (Gudrun) Smith Tucson, AZ; Douglas (Carol) Smith of Bloomfield Hills, MI; Conrad Smith of Chicago, IL; Susan (Richard) Leuzinger of Monroe, WI; Scott (Lori Myszka) Smith of Beaver Dam, WI; grandsons: Ryne Leuzinger of Santa Cruz, CA; Aaron Leuzinger of Madison, WI; Kevin Smith of Denver, CO; Nathan Smith of Beaver Dam, WI; five step-grandchildren; 15 step-great-grandchildren; niece, Stacey (Ben) Rearden of Tampa, FL; and nephew, Dustin Nash of Tampa, FL. H is also survived by other great-nieces, great-nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Jennings Smith; his mother and stepfather, Anna and Adolph Robe; former wife, Anne Smith; a granddaughter, Noel Ann Smith; one brother, Donald Robe; and one sister, Shirley Nash.
After a childhood spent living in Sioux City, Iowa, Jim enlisted in the Coast Guard on Oct 10, 1942. He answered the call to serve during WWII and was stationed in Boston and Greenland until his honorable discharge in 1945. During the war, he was assigned to the US Coast Guard cutter Nanuk with 26 other crew members; a boat he described as no larger than a tug-boat. He survived serious injuries from an accident during a storm in the Atlantic. In 1945 he used the GI Bill and enrolled in studies at the University of Iowa, earning his degree in journalism. From a “lesson learned in J-school”, he realized advertising jobs earned $10.00 more per week. The promise of that extra income led to a long career in newspaper advertising. Jim’s first job after earning his degree was with the Burlington, Iowa Hawkeye Gazette. He met Anne while both were students at the University of Iowa. They married on May 28, 1948 and began a family while living in Iowa City, then to Burlington, Iowa, followed by a job change to the Racine Journal Times; moving to Racine, WI in the mid-1950s. He was employed as an advertising salesman at the Journal Times until 1973.
In 1973 he, and then wife Anne, decided to move to Waupaca. Camping at Hartman’s Creek had led him to Waupaca, the city he called home until his passing. Jim wore many different hats during his time in Waupaca. The list includes, but is not limited to, advertising manager at the Waupaca County Post, and a stint at the Waupaca Chamber of Commerce. He owned and operated the Montgomery Ward’s Catalogue Store and a discount shoe store, worked as a realtor for Peterson Realty and Steven’s Realty, and was owner and landlord of several houses and buildings in the Waupaca area.
Aside from his various professional endeavors, Jim was defined most by his civic involvement in Waupaca. In January, 1975 he decided (based on a brief discussion with then City Clerk Harriet Ward) to take out papers and run for alderman of the Waupaca’s Ward 1. That decision led to a twenty-five year run (minus a short hiatus after losing a tie vote, and “pulling the short straw”, in 1987) spanning from 1975 -1987, 1993-2001, and Chairperson of Law Enforcement Committee from 2004 – 2010. Jim loved his home on N. Main St and was fondly called King-of-the Hill by family and friends based on its location adjacent to Nells Rasmussen Park. He was a long time member of the AM Coffee Crew at Drivas Drug Store and then Stratton Drug Store. He was also a long time member of Waupaca’s VFW Post 1037. Jim loved children, dogs and birds; cockatoo Taffy and chihuahua Salsa among his favorite pets. He was a frequent flyer at Royal Oaks Golf Course for many years and was an avid sports fan. Loyalty to his Iowa Hawkeyes never wavered during his years in Wisconsin. Jim especially loved football and was a Packer season ticket holder beginning in 1959. His love of camping provided many memorable experiences for his children.
A Funeral Service will be on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 12:30 p.m. at the Holly Funeral Home in Waupaca, WI. Pastor Jeff Fletcher will officiate. A visitation will be on Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Holly Funeral Home. Burial with full military honors performed will be at Lakeside Memorial Park in Waupaca. The Holly Funeral Home of Waupaca is assisting the family with arrangements.