James “Jim” E. Smith
June 1, 1926-October 28, 2019
Mishawaka-James “Jim” E. Smith, 93, transitioned to his heavenly home Monday, October 28 at Tanglewood Trace. Born in 1926 to Ralph and Rita Smith, he experienced a typical little boy’s life of adventure and a splash of mischief. At an early sage he became fascinated with airplanes and flying. Because of the Depression he grew to be very resourceful in earning money for flying lessons. He was later involved in flight clubs, tournaments and crafting models. This passion of flight followed him the rest of his life. Fly-ins at the Mishawaka Pilots Club on Father’s Day became a tradition for him and his daughters for many years.
Upon graduation from Riley High School in 1944 he was drafted into the Army and served primarily in Berlin during WWII. His love of Germany encouraged his return on several occasions, but for happier reasons. He was most grateful to participate in the Honor Flight to Washington in 2009.
In 1949 he married his love, Mary Alice Schrader. They became parents of daughters, Rebecca and Dawn with the family growing up in Mishawaka. Jim worked at Sonneyborn’s and Ross’s Sport Stores before becoming employed at NIPSCO from which he retired.
Jim was also very active with the Sub-Surface-Sirs, a scuba diving club which uncovered such treasures as a chalice, stolen religious artifacts (which were returned to the various churches) and even an automobile which he helped restore.
Jim and Mary Alice were involved in printing Braille Bibles with other members of the First United Methodist Church. He worked on several Habitat-for Humanity projects in Indiana and Florida as well as participating in the Jolly Gents Service Club in Sebring during winter months. He served in many capacities at his home church in Mishawaka and was noted to be quite the jokester! Sunday School classes were entertained quite regularly with his questions and comments!
His skills with woodworking will be remembered buy the presence of Celtic crosses or candlestick holders in many homes. His presence will be felt in furniture, clocks, framing and a host of other items found in our homes for family to treasure.
Many wonderful memories remain from the trips the family took in early years and especially the adventures he and Mary Alice shared in traveling the world. His connection to people and conversations has led him down various paths and influenced his daughters to this day as does his passion for jigsaw puzzles.
The passing of Jim ends an era of the Smith Family Tree. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, and one sister as well as their spouses and one granddaughter, Julie Woodley. Surviving are his bride of 70 years, Mary Alice; daughters, Becky and Dawn; grandchildren, Jessica LeBlang and Aurelia Smith; four great grandchildren, Clayton and Courtney Woodley and Brock and Madelynn LeBlang in addition to nieces and nephews.
Hahn Funeral Home has been entrusted with the service at First United Methodist Church of Mishawaka on Friday, November 1 at 11:00 a.m., with visitation one hour prior in the church. Special thanks are given to Hahn’s, Southern Care Hospice and Tanglewood Trace for their support, service and love of our father and husband.
Fly into the sunset little yellow Piper Cub pilot, but circle back for us to join you someday. Our hearts will be looking upward!
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