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James “Jim” H. Smith passed away peacefully and unexpectedly at his cottage on Sunday, March 31, 2019. He was born July 17, 1953 to Warren and Elaine (Schultz) Smith in Appleton, WI. He attended St Therese Catholic School where he first joined the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts played a pivotal role in shaping the man he became, first as a Scout then later as a Scout Leader of Troop # 5. He also achieved the honor of becoming an Eagle Scout. Jim had an unending number of stories that he shared with his family and friends regarding his Boy Scouts escapades, and he developed many lifelong friendships in the process. Jim married Barbara Dobratz on May 5, 1979 in Pulcifer, WI. They were blessed with two daughters, Andrea and Laurie. Jim joined his father Warren in the family real estate business in 1974. Upon his father’s retirement, Jim assumed ownership of W.E. Smith Realty, which recently celebrated it’s 50th anniversary. He was very active in the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin and served in the role of president multiple times. He was also awarded Realtor of the Year in 1988 and 1996 and served on the board of the local Realtors Association for many years. In addition to selling homes, Jim was an appraiser and there wasn’t a single street in the Fox Cities where he had not done an appraisal. Jim was a member of the Appleton Evening Lions Club for 40+ years, served as president of the club many times and received the Melvin Jones Award in 2009. He was an active participant on the Board of Review and Board of Appeals for the City of Appleton and a member of the Appleton Northside Business Association. He was proud to have donated over 40 gallons of blood at the Community Blood Center. A year and a half ago, when most people are slowing down in life, Jim undertook a new business venture with his daughter Andrea and brother Steve when they bought Honey Baked Ham in Appleton. Despite having an already full plate of responsibilities, Jim always had time to help a friend or family member. He had spent countless hours working with family on home renovation projects, most of which actually turned out pretty good. He loved spending time at the cottage in Mountain doing things like kayaking, relaxing, hiking and enjoying bonfires with family. Jim was outgoing and loved talking to anyone and everyone. His “dad jokes” were epic, earning chuckles (and a few moans and groans) from whomever was lucky enough to hear one. He was truly the best husband, father and friend and the hole he leaves in the lives of those who knew him will never be filled.
He is survived by his loving wife Barb, daughters Andrea Smith and Laurie (Jordan) Gross, precious grandchildren Addison and Roman Gross, brothers Steven and Peter (Denise), nieces Jen Smith (children Celeste and Zoey), Nicole Opsteen (husband Dominic, children Clayton, MacKenzi, Peter, Easton and Warren), Kate Smith (husband Lee Kedrowski, children Penelope and Harvey). Further survived by cousins Mary Helen (Ken) Walbrun, Janette Mignon, William (Terri) West, Patrick (Margaret) Smith, and Michael (Linda) Smith.
He was preceded in death by his parents Warren and Elaine, his aunts Mary Schultz, Helen Lenz and Eileen Smith, uncles Patrick Smith and Rudy Schultz, and his dear cousin and friend Bill Schultz.
A viewing will be held at Valley Funeral Home, 2211 N Richmond, on Thursday April 4 from 5-8 PM as well as Friday morning from 9-10:45 AM at Faith Lutheran Church, 601 E. Glendale Avenue, and the Rev. Daniel Thews officiating. The Service will follow at 11 on Friday at the church. Memorial donations may be made out to the Wisconsin Lions Foundation, 3834 County Rd A, Rosholt WI 54473.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” Robert Frost