James's Story

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PALMYRA - James Wilbur Smith passed away at age 83 on June 10, 2014 at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs, Florida after a long, two-year battle with colon cancer. He is survived by his loving wife, Jolene Tompkins Smith and three children from his first marriage; one son, Douglas James in Palmyra, and two daughters, Raelene Towne in Georgia, and Andrea Delligatti in Georgia, and numerous grandchildren. Son, Lawrence from Plymouth is predeceased from a truck accident.

Surviving stepchildren include Shawn Baugh, Shannon Rogers and Jonathon Rogers. James is survived by two brothers, Hadley Edwin Smith and wife, Robin living on the homestead farm in Palmyra and in Virginia, and Sterling Ithamer Smith and wife, Georgianna living in Phippsburg, Maine. Half brothers, Charles Wilbur, Stephen Ashley, Lauriston Getchel, and half sister, Marguerite Almira are predeceased.

James was born Aug. 25, 1930, the son of Wilbur Ashley and Frances Lillian Ireland (Jessome) Smith. He was born at home in the same room where his father was born in 1884. He walked with his brothers to the one-room Adams school on Route 2 in Palmyra for 9 years, graduated from Newport High School in 1948, and completed a two-year agricultural program at the University of Maine in Orono. He was an active participant in school sports and was a 32-degree Anah Shrine Mason.

In 1954 he took over ownership and operation of the three-farm family homestead in Palmyra after the death of his father and operated the farm until 1960 when he sold his cattle and equipment, bought the Andrew Towle farm at the intersection in Newport, and started an excavation/construction business as Smith Construction in Newport which he continued 30 years until he retired in 1990 and moved to Florida. Son Doug Smith, a graduate of Wentworth College, provided civil engineering expertise and son, Lawrence operated heavy equipment. Smith Construction built many projects throughout central Maine including Triangle Plaza in Newport. As a young man James received numerous agricultural awards, was a member of the school district board and the board of Sebasticook Valley Hospital, and was active in local public activities. The Smith farm was sold to brother, Hadley in 1984.

Cremation was provided by Fort Meyers Mortuary Service. Graveside burial services will be held at the Smith family lot at the Goodwin Cemetery on Smith Road in Palmyra at a date to be announced. Donations to St. Jude Cancer Research may be made in lieu of flowers www.stjude.org
Published on  June 14, 2014
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