James (Jim) H. Smith, 74 of Surprise, Arizona, passed away peacefully in the arms of his family, at their home on Friday, July 7, 2023.
Jim was born in Tampa, Florida and grew up primarily in Calexico, CA, where he graduated from Calexico High School. He went on to serve his country after enlisting in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, earning numerous awards and decorations, most notably a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Valor and Meritorious Service, including many more. Jim was very proud to serve his country and contribute during one of the most trying times faced by our nation. He was not only a veteran of the military, but served the Imperial Valley community for 20 years as a Captain for the Brawley Fire Department before transitioning to work for the State of California Department of Corrections, Calipatria Prison Fire Department for 13 years before finally retiring his turnout gear in December of 2004. After retirement, Jim relocated with his family to Arizona.
Jim believed in respect, honesty, a strong handshake, and a good joke. He enjoyed watching the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Cardinals play for Division titles. Jim loved treating himself to tacos, at least three times a week and a few trips a month to the casino for some Double-Double Bonus Poker action. His facial expressions had a way of conveying a thousand words, some with four letters. Jim was caring, with a warm heart and welcoming personality. Jim possessed an ability to make those around him feel at ease and loved. Although he had many accomplishments and blessings throughout his military and fire careers, if you were to ask him what he coveted most in his 74 years, he would tell you it was being able to share his life with his family. There was no question what his wife and children meant to him or what he wouldn’t give for a chance to share another moment with them.
Jim is survived by his wife of 51 years, Lutricia (Tish) Smith; their three children, Lindsey, David, and Jimmy Smith all of Surprise, Arizona; three sisters, Georgia Payne, Tanya Malan, and Vicki Link of California; two brothers, Greg Smith of California and Michael Boese of Texas; nieces, nephews, grandchildren, one great grandchild, extended family, and many friends. He is predeceased by his mother Heddy McNeer; father Jess Smith; birth father Henry Boese; and brother Andrew Smith.
Calling hours will be at the American Lutheran Church of Sun City, 17200 N. Del Webb Blvd, Sun City, AZ 85373 on Friday, July 28 from 830-900am. His celebration of life will immediately follow at 900am. The procession to the graveside service, with full military honors, will immediately follow to the Sunland Memorial Park Cemetery, located at 15826 N. Del Webb Blvd, Sun City, AZ 85373.
Flowers may be sent to the American Lutheran Church of Sun City, 17200 N. Del Webb Blvd, Sun City, AZ 85373.
Donations in Jim’s honor, may be made to the National Headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Organization, www.vfw.org.