James Neill Smith, 89, of McGehee, died February 11, 2015 at his home.
Mr. Smith was a retired attorney who practiced law for many years with his father and brother at Smith & Smith Law Firm.
He was born on May 5, 1925 in McGehee and was the son of the late Jennie Lee Maier Smith and James Moses Smith. His maternal grandparents, America Jane and Fred Maier, were original settlers of McGehee.
Mr. Smith served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, primarily on duty in the South Pacific. He attended the public schools of McGehee for 11 years, where he excelled in several sports, before graduating in 1944 from Gulf Coast Military Academy in Gulfport, Mississippi.
After WWII, Mr. Smith attended Ouachita Baptist University before graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with both undergraduate and law degrees.
He was a member of the Arkansas Bar Association, the Lion’s Club, McGehee Bank Board of Directors, the McGehee Chamber of Commerce, long-time attorney for Cypress Creek Drainage District and a highly respected member of many other business and civic organizations.
Mr. Smith was a third generation member of the First United Methodist Church of McGehee, where his grandfather was an organizing member in 1905. He enjoyed golf, following the Razorbacks and passionately following his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting and other activities.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Freddy J. Smith and Robert M. Smith, and brother-in-law Richard K. Clem.
Survivors include his beloved wife of 61 years, Barbara Gould Smith; his children, James Michael Smith and wife Glenda of McGehee, Don Morton Smith and wife Cindy of McGehee, and David Alan Smith and wife Susie of Little Rock; his sister Margaret Jane Clem of Hot Springs; two sisters-in-law, Nomel Carolyn Smith of Omaha, Nebraska and Delma Smith Thompson of Pittsburg, Kansas. He was affectionately known as PeaPaw by his grandchildren, S. Kendall Smith M.D., Elliot Smith, Natalie (Josh) Hite, Taylor Smith, Madeline Smith, and Matthew Smith; and great grand-twins, Olivia and James Hite, all of whom loved and admired him greatly.
Visitation will be held February 14, at 1 p.m., followed by funeral services at 2 p.m., both at First United Methodist Church of McGehee.
Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of McGehee or a charity of the donor’s choice.