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James Maurice Smith was born in Chehalis, Wash., Feb. 24, 1931, to Maurice James Smith and Clara (Taylor) Smith. His parents lived their whole lives in the small town of Chehalis. His dad was a railroad engineer, carrying lumber down from the mountains, and his mother was a faithful wife, mother of four boys, and kept a beautiful large garden even to the very end of her life.
Jim went to school in Chehalis, and then attended Northwest Christian College in Eugene. There he met his first wife, LaDonna Mariam Ross. Being very tall, he played basketball, got his degree in theology and was married to LaDonna June 14, 1953, in Hood River by her father, the Reverend Donald Ross. Feeling the need for discipline in his life, he enlisted in the Air Force on Oct. 5, 1955.
Jim and LaDonna were first stationed at Tyndall AFB in Florida, where they had two sons, Michael on March 29, 1957, and David (Mark) on Dec.13, 1959. Jim was then stationed in Greenland for a year while his family lived in Chehalis. Their third son, John, was born April 17, 1961. In 1961, they moved, and were stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo., for two years. In 1963, they moved to Alva, Okla., where Jim was in the reserves, completed his seminary studies at Phillips University in Enid, Okla., and was the youth pastor at the First Christian Church.
In 1965, they moved to Hoxie, Kan., their things carried in wheat trucks with the help of the farmers there. In this small town, Jim pastored his first church (First Christian Church) for 10 years. He faithfully labored there in the church, drove school bus, raised his family and was well loved and respected by the community.
In 1975, their oldest son, Michael, attended Northwest Christian College in Eugene. In a desire to be closer to their family in Washington and Oregon, Jim and LaDonna moved again to a small town, Burns, where Jim pastored his second church (Burns Christian Church). (David) Mark and John completed high school there, and moved away as Jim and LaDonna continued to serve the community and church there.
After her third bout with cancer, Jim’s first wife, LaDonna, passed away Dec. 16, 1997, in Burns.
In 1998, while still ministering in Burns to Son Rise Christian Church, Jim was introduced to Margaret Gard of Colorado Springs. They were married on June 28, 1998, in Green Mountain Falls, Colo. After Jim retired, the Smiths moved to Springville, Calif., for one year. They were active in the Lindsay Christian Church in Lindsay, Calif. They then purchased a home in Strathmore. Jim took a position as pastor of the Community Church in Camp Nelson, Calif., for a few months. After retiring once again in 2005, the Smiths moved to Delta, Colo. The family enjoyed the fellowship of Delta Christian Church.
In 2010, a move was made to Canon City, Colo. to be close to family. For a short while, he led Bible study for a small group and a Sunday afternoon Bible study at Canon Lodge Nursing Home. Jim and his wife, Margaret, were members of Grandview Christian Church
Jim was a faithful pastor, a faithful husband and a faithful father. He had a quiet sense of humor, and to the end of his days, thought of the needs of others before himself.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret Gard Smith of Canon City; eight step children, Gail Gard of Canon City, Tiffany Gard of Canon City, Patrick Gard (and Susan) of Cedar, Minn., Beth Hamilton (Mark) of Canon City, Joyce Whitzel of Burlington, Colo., and Guy Gard (Rhonda) of Montrose, Colo.; and extended family, Sherl von Dohren (John) of Omaha, Neb., and Susie Waldrop of Herrin, Ill.; as well as many family members and friends. He is also survived by his brother, Chuck Smith; and his three sons, Michael Lawrence Smith, Fr. (David) Mark Smith and John Maurice Smith, all now living in Washington and Vancouver, B.C.; 29 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held July 26. Interment will be held in Burns, with a memorial service at Burns Christian Church.