James Kenneth Smith

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James Kenneth Smith

James Kenneth Smith, age 90, formerly of Chelsea, and originally of Winterset, Ohio, passed away on December 26, 2022 surrounded by family.

Jim was predeceased by his beloved wife of 58 years, Lillian, the woman to whom he devoted every fiber of his being. Also preceding him in death were his parents Ethel and Arley, and his older brothers, Richard “Dick” and Arley “Junior.”

Jim was born in 1932 and grew up a country farm boy, both a charmer and a class clown. He attended a one-room schoolhouse before graduating in 1950 from Madison High School in Lore City, Ohio, where he loved playing basketball and had the underhand free throw nearly perfected. Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he attained the rank of Petty Officer Second Class during the Korean War aboard the Destroyer USS Charles H. Ware. His experience in the service brought him to numerous countries around the globe and eventually to the love of his life, Lillian.

James went on to work for Johnson Heater Corporation, while at the same time moonlighting at Chelsea Tire and Cycle and delivering groceries for a local market. Years later, he and Lillian obtained their real estate broker’s licenses and owned and operated Smith Realty until their retirement.

He is survived by his beloved family: his children, Howard and Laurie Smith, Sherri Rubin and Rose D’Orazio and Jim Dascoli; grandchildren, Alana and Moe Butler, Joshua and Lesley Smith and Jared and Nicole Smith. Nothing made him happier than being a great-grandfather/“Papa”/and “Papa Jim” to Calynn, Hannah, Ethan, Madison, William, Liliana, and Alexandra.

He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Myra, and nieces and nephews Patty, Debbie, Bryan, Timmy, Nick, Kelly, Kim, Brittany, Nikki, Arley, Krissie; and of course, Fred. He will additionally be missed immensely by his “lapdog” Buster.

Jim’s humor, white New Balance sneakers, and his radiating smile brought joy to us all and he will be forever missed by his many adored friends in Massachusetts, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, as well as “the boys” at various Mickey D’s across New England.

Jim, along with his late wife Lillian, dedicated time to volunteering with the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home and the Cohen Florence Levine Estates, where their charisma, kindness, and generosity brought comfort to all.

Jim was an excellent baker, an avid fisherman, and questionable stir fry chef. He cherished new experiences, travel, and time with those he loved. Honoring his memory is to work tirelessly with a strong commitment to helping those you care about however, wherever, and whenever possible.

Our Dad/Papa/Uncle Jim has left us with a legacy of love, compassion, and the importance of family which we will hold in our hearts forever and strive to pay forward as our way of honoring his memory. We thank our friends and family for your support over the years and certainly during these last several months. He loved you all as do we.

We are forever grateful to the incredible care providers at the Connecticut VA Hospitals and Hospice. Special thanks to the medical team of Dr. Chao, Tracy, Marsha (and your fellows, nurses, techs, support staff), Dr. Wadia, Dr. Maduka, Rosemary, and the Thoracic Surgery team at Yale New Haven Hospital. You made the hardest things so much gentler and gave us a little extra time along the way. Thank you.

He is now at rest and reunited in eternal peace with his beloved Lillian. His memory is forever our blessing.

Services will be held at 10:30am on Friday, December 30 at Torf Funeral Chapel, 151 Washington Ave., Chelsea, with burial to follow at Chevra Kadisha cemetery, 232 Fuller St., Everett. We are endlessly grateful for your support and welcome you to join us in celebrating his life.

In lieu of flowers, please do something to honor his memory. Volunteer with a cause close to your heart, take someone you love fishing on a bright spring morning and if you have the means, consider a donation to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Hospice, or a cancer-fighting organization of your choice.

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