After almost 97 years, James Daniel (JD or Jim) Smith died peacefully at his Oak Harbor home on May 18. Born on June 24, 1922, to Daniel W. Smith II and Helen Schuck Smith of Harrison, Ohio, JD had three siblings: Marjorie, Clem, and Eileen, who predeceased him.
JD had a long and wonderful life. Raised on a farm during the depression, the family had no running water or electricity until JD turned 14. He graduated high school a year early, obtained an engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati, and enlisted into the Navy just before the end of WWII.
Though short, his tenure in the Navy was eventful. JD taught calculus to midshipmen at the Naval Academy, outranking a young senior cadet named Jimmy Carter. He went to the Pacific where he saw both A-Bomb tests at the Bikini Atoll, and then, while at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, met and married Catherine (Kate) Chase.
JD was married to Kate for 71 years, and they raised six children: Steve, Tim, Kelley, Dan, Margery, and Quin. JD and Kate emphasized education, and he was proudest that all six children got college degrees and went on to become productive individuals.
Although well known for his competence and intelligence, JD was fired five times during his long-work history. He noted that each of the companies that fired him went out of business. After the last firing in 1975, JD invested his life savings into Northern Manufacturing, a small machine shop (six employees) in Oak Harbor. That small business spawned the current Northern Manufacturing and C. Nelson Manufacturing in Oak Harbor, which together have almost 200 employees.
JD was an avid grower, and consumer, of garden vegetables, a love that he passed on to all of his children. After retiring, he was involved in converting farmland into wetland to reduce runoff to Lake Erie and provide habitat for waterfowl.
He was recently named Ottawa County 2017 Conservator of the Year. JD was a regular for breakfast with friends at Kozy Korner.
JD is survived by five children, 14 grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by all.
Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. on Sunday, June 23 at the Robinson-Walker Funeral Home & Crematory, Oak Harbor. A Memorial Mass conducted by Father Timothy Ferris will be 11 a.m., Monday, June 24, at St. Boniface Catholic Church, with visitation one hour prior to the mass. Interment will be in Union Cemetery, Oak Harbor. Memorial donations may be given to Hospice of Northwest Ohio. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.walkerfuneralhomes.com