James A. Smith, Jr., 82, passed away on March 1. He is survived by his loving, devoted wife of 21 years, Gloria. He is also survived by his daughter, Darlene Smith; two sons, James Smith, III, and Robert Smith; two stepsons, Kenny Sanders and Christopher Sanders; beloved grandchildren, Katelyn Sanders, Thaden Sanders and Owen Sanders. He was preceded in death by his only brother, Gerald (Elaine) Smith of Tucson, Ariz.
James was born Jan. 26, 1932, in Joliet, Ill., to his parents, Violet and James Smith. His high school accomplishments were: an accomplished flutist in the Joliet Township High School Band and earning his Eagle Scout Award. He served two years (1953-1955) in the Marines. He graduated in 1953 from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He did some post-graduate work at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He worked for 36 years in aerospace engineering: General Electric Company Space Systems (1962-1964); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1964-1992); Boeing North America (1993-1999); Hernandez Engineering Company (1999-2000); and the Boeing Company (2000-2002).
He and Gloria were married in 1992 in Houston, and moved to Pagosa Springs in 2002. He spent his retirement years skiing, ATVing, hiking, woodworking, puzzling, playing bridge and reading. He and Gloria enjoyed extensive traveling during the last years of his retirement.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Community United Methodist Church’s food bank, P.O. Box 300, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.