James D. Smith of Twin Falls, Idaho, died Sunday, April 25, 2021 at the age of 90. He was the best of the best; a moral, generous man. He was reserved in a Marlborough man kind of way—strong morally and physically.
Dad was born November 11, 1930, the youngest child of Rhoma and Marjorie Smith, who moved to Twin Falls from the Ozarks in southern Missouri. In high school, he played the trumpet but was rather “rowdy;” there he met like-fellows who became his best friends for almost 75 years: Ted Cheney and Louie Heather. He dated his first wife, Pauline (Polly) Lowe, in high school. They especially enjoyed seeing the Lawrence Welk Band at Radio Rendezvous in Twin Falls. Dad watched the Lawrence Welk Show up to the day before he died.
Don and Pauline married while Dad was still in the Navy, where he served four years on the U.S.S. Delta, which was a maintenance ship sailing in the Korean War. He became interested in electronics and passed tests to become an Electrician Mate Third Class—an interest that later became a profession he loved.
After the Navy, Dad earned his electrician’s license and worked for a good man, almost a father figure, Floyd Smith of Smith Electric. He worked for Floyd for thirty years. Dad enjoyed wiring things and seeing his finished work, especially deep-water pumps gushing water because of his efforts. Many building contractors only wanted to work with Don Smith.
He and Polly had four children. The Smiths were a close family, but Polly passed away in 1980. A family friend introduced Dad to Gladys Ann Niven Summer, a beautiful woman whom he eventually married. They were a loving couple for over 35 years. Gladys was a hard-working, artistic person with a strong faith and love enough for everyone who knew her.
Dad enjoyed many hobbies: water skiing, hunting, bowling, and card games. He was a dog lover and was so very proud of the family black lab Megan whose duck hunting buddies highly respected. When the Smith kids were growing up, there was always a dog, cat, bird, turtle in the mix. He valued education. His children and their spouses earned a total of eight bachelor’s degrees and six advanced degrees. He believed in the American Dream: through education, his children would be better off than he was.
Preceding him in death were his cherished wife, Gladys, his parents Marjorie and Rhoma Smith, in-laws Dorothy and Leon Lowe, his first wife Polly, a newborn son Stephen, and his beloved daughters Connie Kay Smith and Sandra Kay Smith. Also deceased were his brother Lyle Smith (Irene) and Louise Bush (Ray).
Dad is survived by a special sister-in-law Elaine (Gary) Halverson, children Scott James (Mia) Doron and Katherine Ann “Smitty”(Brian) Jost, his incredible sons-in-law Richard Suyehira, Brent Bronson, and Brian Jost, grandchildren Michael (Christie) Suyehira, Kelsey Suyehira (partner Thomas Greene), Lilianne Doron, Meghan (Shannon) Vassen, Sydney Bronson, and Riley Jost. Dad also loved his extended family of Gladys’ children: Ellery Bruce Summer III, Debra Summer Larson, Rebecca “Becky” Jean Summer Allred (friend Wes Christensen), Jay Merrill Summer, Daniel “Scott” (Charlotte) Summer, Eleanor Suzanne “Suzi” Summer, and grandchildren Matthew Larson, Amber Larson, Rebecca Allred (Zach Nixon), Jessica Allred (Greg Twigg), Tara (Wesley) O’Brien, Erica Summer (Chadd Van Komen), Ashley Summer, and April Summer. Dad also had 11 great-grandchildren.
If the measure of a man is in the lives he’s touched and the people he’s helped, James Don Smith is measured to be one of the greats. He will be painfully missed by everyone who knew him.
A memorial service will be held on Friday April 30, 2021 at 1pm at Rosenau Funeral Home, 2826 Addison Ave E. Twin Falls with light refreshments served following the service. A webcast of the service may be viewed by visiting his obituary page at www.rosenaufuneralhome.com.