James H. Smith Sr.

October 3, 1924February 24, 2018
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"These ole feet have walked thousands of miles; no wonder they’re worn out.” What a journey it has been!”

James H. Smith Sr. of Ruff Creek passed away Saturday, February 24, 2018, in his home. He was born October 3, 1924 to Edward S. Smith and Lillie M. Smalley of Richhill Twp., Greene County.

As a boy, Jim worked the farm with his eight sisters and spent many hours coon hunting with his dogs Spike and Red. In winter he maintained a successful trap line. Keeping busy at home didn’t detract from his studies. At one point he had a five year Perfect Attendance record. That streak was broken one morning when a skunk greeted him with a special “Hello”. He stayed home that day. James graduated Valedictorian Class of 1943 from Center Twp. High School.

In 1947 he strolled across Greene Street to introduce himself to a young telephone operator who “was as nice as she was pretty. I snatched her up before anyone else could!” On November 13, 1947 he married Leona Gaye Staggers in Winchester, Va. Together they worked side by side building a good life for 44 years until her passing in 1991.

Their four children learned the value of honest, hard work which usually involved tilling the soil; the love a simple life which included listening to rain on a tin roof; and an abiding devotion to God and Country. Surviving are James Jr. (Elizabeth) of Midway, Georgia; Debora (John Inghram) of East Washington; and Brenda (Ted) Lindsay of South Park. Joy was tempered by the loss of a son, Roger W. of Little Greene Apples Fruit Farm in 1987.

Surviving grandchildren called him Pap; James Smith III, Heather (Dean) Foxworthy, and Rachel (Caleb) Plate of Alaska, Jessica (Rob) Ringeisen of McDonald and Joni (Luke) Watson of Bethel Park, Scott (Taryn) Longstreth of Chambersburg and Nathan Longstreth of Pittsburgh, Baron (Julia) Lindsay of South Park, Laurel Lindsay of Pittsburgh, 2LT U.S. Army Shelby Lindsay currently stationed in Colorado, and Hunter Lindsay of South Park.

Ten great-grandchildren are: Tyde and Kenneth Smith, Trenton and Jason Foxworthy, Quai, Xyander, Gideon and Serenity Plate, Abel Watson and Claire Lindsay. Also surviving are a daughter-in-law, Gwen (Bill) Cross of Rogersville and a son-in-law Jerry Longstreth of Washington.

James worked 35 years for Columbia Gas, retiring in 1986. His positions included welding, operating heavy equipment, and in transmission regulator measurement. James was previously a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church of Ruff Creek where he faithfully served as Trustee for several years, and more recently attended Whitely Creek Community Church. He was a member of East Franklin Grange.

James bowled on the gas company league as well as recently the Greene County Senior league. He enjoyed the company of friends as much as the game itself. Another deep passion was gardening. His neighbors benefitted from his generous heart and bountiful harvests. The tall poled lima beans became architectural works of wonder as the season progressed. One morning he happily discovered a Master Gardener’s sign displayed at the end of the row.

James’ love of family began with his sisters. Surviving are: Kate Parson of Waynesburg, Dorothy Grim of Camp Hill, Marilyn Burns of Cranberry Twp., and Carolyn Adrian of Cary, N.C. Four sisters preceded him in passing: Wilma Crouse, Violet Rush, Ruth Braddock, and Virginia Day.

James H. Smith Sr. is to be remembered as a builder, a man who fixes things. Calculating roof rafters, cutting stair jacks, tearing apart and reassembling more motors than John Deere ever built, pruning apple trees in January, putting swishy worms on the end of a fishing line, pouring yards and yards of concrete, harvesting his fields of grain, and carefully removing tangled knots from a young girl’s necklaces. He built an unparalleled legacy.


  • 4 H Livestock Scholarship Fund


  • Visitation Thursday, March 1, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, March 2, 2018

James H. Smith Sr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

James Henry

March 2, 2018

I am sorry for your loss. When I was a teenager and worked for Roger and Gwen at the orchard Mr. Smith would always be there helping in someway. He was either tinkering fixing something, picking apples or helping run the line to put the cider in the milk tank that was in the barn. Mr. Smith was the kindest man you would ever want to meet, and he would always greet you with a smile. I last talked to him a couple of years ago at the fair, we both shed a tear over how much we missed Roger, Roger was like a big brother to me. I'm sure they are enjoying each others company in heaven now. Again, I am very sorry for your loss, your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

Jenny Rehnert

February 28, 2018

My husband and I were honored to have Mr. Smith visit our home just a few short months ago. We feel blessed to have met him, and only wish it had been many years earlier so we could have known him better. There are so many stories remembered in these photos and the obituary, that I can tell he was a real character and truly loved. Our condolences to the family; may he rest in peace.

Cindy Dulaney Brewer

February 28, 2018

What an eloquent obituary. It made me wish I had known the man who was loved so much by his family. My deepest sympathy to all of you.
Cindy Dulaney Brewer

Bill Cross

February 27, 2018

I worked with Jim at Columbia Gas for several years and I can tell you he was a man of many talents. His work was always top notch and he could build anything from scratch. You might say he was perfectionist of sorts which this world really needs. We used to bet each other that we could raise the biggest potato and I never won. We shared in the grief of our spouse in 1991 and I was privileged to marry his son Rogers widow Gwen. Raising our blended family was a challenge but God gave us the secret to success. Love never fails. Love never failed Jim and he left a legacy of family devotion and love. He will be missed. Deepest sympathy to the family. Bill Cross

Bob Johnston Jr

February 26, 2018

Not many like Jim around anymore. Spent a few deer hunting seasons in Potter co with he ,Roger, & little Jim. Dad said Jim was his best hunting partner & friend. RIP

Dick and Kathy

February 26, 2018

Jim, a good friend, always a smile. Knowing he is gone makes us sad. God bless his family and grant them peace.