James Spillman Smith Jr. Obituary
During the early morning hours of April 28, 2021, after surviving the global pandemic through risk avoidance and later vaccination, James Spillman Smith Jr. lost his long battle with lung cancer. He was 73 years old.
Jim did not want to leave this world and battled against his illness almost every day after his diagnosis. One of Jim’s home hospice nurses commented they had never seen somebody rage against their illness as much as Jim did. Literally fighting until the end, Jim passed peacefully in his sleep while in hospice care in Cumming, GA.
Jim was born in Ellijay, GA in 1947, the oldest of four siblings. At the age of 18 he enlisted in the US Army and served during the Vietnam war. While overseas, he continually wrote home to his future wife, Susan, including sending audio reel-to-reel tapes home as well as his salary and gambling winnings for their future together.
After safely returning home, Susan and Jim got married when he was 20 years old. He served another three years in the Army at Fort Hood, TX before earning an honorable discharge at the age of 22. Jim was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars along with other commendations from the US Army.
Jim worked hard for his family every day after that, climbing the corporate ladder at Lanier-Harris in Atlanta, GA. From working in the warehouse to becoming the Vice President of Administration, Jim embodied the promise of the American Dream and was excessively generous with his money, time, and skills as an able handyman and mechanic.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Mary Lou and James Spillman Smith Sr. as well as his sister Elaine Smith Fowler. He is survived by his beloved wife of almost 53 years, Susan Diane Smith, his sisters Ann Jordan and Jean Humphries, his daughter Alison Smith LaCava, son-in-law Craig Joseph LaCava, his two grandchildren Connor and Stella LaCava, as well as many cousins, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.
In lieu of flowers, Jim’s family asks that you kindly donate in honor of James Spillman Smith Jr. to the Wounded Warrior Project.
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