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James Edward Smith, 85

James Edward Smith (Jim), 85, went home to his heavenly father on Dec. 29, 2017. A North Carolina native, he was born Oct. 13, 1932, grew up in the Winston-Salem area and was a graduate of Mineral Springs High School and Appalachian State University (ASU).

He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Bettie Torrence Smith, and his three children: Karen Smith Forster of Cornelius; James Michael Smith and his wife, Jennifer Stanbery Smith, of Cornelius; and Jeannie Smith Rogers and her husband, Eric Allen Rogers, of Charlotte. In addition, he is survived by six grandchildren: Lindsay Forster Kelly of Huntersville; Katherine (Katie) Forster of Charlotte; Stacey Smith Moser and her husband, Cary, of Huntersville; James Tyler Smith of Huntersville; Harrison Smith Rogers of Charlotte and Grayson Rogers of Charlotte; and two great grandchildren, Hayden James Kelly and Boone Moser, both of Huntersville. He is also survived by his brother, Donald (Donnie) Smith and wife, Mary; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Torrence Alexander; and sister-in-law Odessa Torrence Archer and her husband, Jack, of Davidson. He is preceded in death by his parents, James Ernest Smith and Coetta Hall Smith Norman, and sisters Gladys Smith Hauser and Bettie Jo Smith Linville.

Jim was a good and generous man, a devoted father and husband, friend and business leader.

He began college at Appalachian State University in 1952, but his college career was interrupted during his sophomore year when he was drafted to serve in the United States Navy during the Korean War. He proudly served stateside at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Md., where he graduated from the U.S. Naval Hospital Corp School before receiving an honorable discharge in 1956 to return home to help his mother and dying father. Upon his return, he reunited with Bettie Torrence Smith, whom he had met years earlier through his college roommate. Jim and Bettie were married June 9, 1956, and cherished their 61 wonderful years of marriage. After getting married, Jim returned to Appalachian State where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies and Physical Education in 1958.

Family was the love of Jim’s life. While raising their young family, Jim was a devoted and involved father often coaching his son, Michael, in numerous sports. The whole family spent many weekends traveling to ball fields across the country for various baseball tournaments. One high light was Jim coaching his son, Mike, before the 1974 Pony League World Series. Jim always took time for his precious daughters, Karen and Jeannie.

Jim and his family spent many wonderful times and vacations at Myrtle Beach, enjoying the boardwalk and fishing at the pier, along with family vacations to Alaska and Europe. As the family grew with the addition of grandchildren, they created many wonderful memories at their lovely homes in Myrtle Beach, Elk River Club in Banner Elk and the Peninsula Club at Lake Norman.

Jim spent most of his career with Kraft, Inc., as a salesman and District Sales Manager. In 1984, at the age of 50, Jim co-founded Dairy Fresh, which became the largest dairy products manufacturer in the Southeast.

Well after the business sold and Jim retired, he continued to stay active and never forgot those with whom he worked. He stayed in touch with all of his former Dairy Fresh employees, hosting and emceeing annual Christmas parties for them. He went back into business as a partner in Northcross Lanes at the Lake. He served on numerous boards and in civic roles, including serving on the boards of Bank of Granite and Bank of Commerce.

He never forgot his alma mater, supporting Appalachian State University’s Yosef Club, McKinney Alumni Center, as well as academic and athletic scholarships. He served on the ASU Athletics Enhancement Committee from 2005 to 2011 and was a member of the Yosef Club Advisory Board from 1990 to 2003. In 2008, the new baseball stadium at Appalachian State University was named the Jim and Bettie Smith Stadiumin honor of Jim and his wife, Bettie.

An avid sports fan, Jim was a founding seat license member for the Carolina Panthers and held season tickets for Davidson College Basketball for more than 40 years. He dearly loved cheering on the Davidson Wildcats and Appalachian State Mountaineers.

Jim also proudly served in many church roles in every place they lived, from Mint Hill to Winston-Salem to Davidson. He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Freemason, lifetime member of American Legion Post 287, Mint Hill Masonic Lodge 0742 and a member of Oasis Shriners.

His children would like to extend their gratitude to their mom, Bettie, who devoted herself to Jim’s care over the past two years as he bravely faced liver cancer and dementia.

The family would also like to thank Jim’s friends who have continued to be a support through a lifetime of friendship up until Jim’s final days, including Colin Nifong and Charlie Fox, his former roommates at ASU, as well as dear neighbors and friends at the Peninsula and The Pines of Davidson, Bill and Bobbie Ross. The family would also like to thank the numerous nurses and staff at the Pines of Davidson for their care and compassion for Jim; Dr. Christopher Zagar, Jim’s family doctor for more than 20 years; his friends at Davidson United Methodist’s Bill Hight Sunday School Class; and Mr. Bob McIntosh, friend and fellow Mason.

Visitation will take place from 6pm to 8pm on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at Raymer- Kepner Funeral Home at 16901 Old Statesville Road in Huntersville. A celebration of Mr. Smith’s life will be held at 1pm on Thursday, Jan. 4, at Davidson United Methodist Church, 233 South Main Street, Davidson, followed by a private burial at Mimosa Cemetery in Davidson.

The family asks that memorials be made to Davidson United Methodist Church, The Pines at Davidson Nursing Unit, ASU Athletics or Davidson College Athletics.

Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home is assisting the family. www.raymerfh.com.