James E. Smith
Published in Decatur
Herald & Review on January 27, 2010
ST. ELMO - James E.
Smith age 88 of St. Elmo, died 4:22 PM Monday January 25, 2010 at St.
Anthony Memorial Hospital Effingham.
Visitation will be on Thursday January 28, 2010 from 4 to 7 PM at the
Kessel Funeral Home St. Elmo and One Hour prior to the funeral at the
church on Friday. Funeral Services will be on Friday January 29, 2010
at 10:00 AM at the First United Methodist Church St. Elmo.
Burial and Military rites will be at 2:00 PM at Coulterville City Cemetery
Memorials may be made to: Coulterville VFW Post 6865 511 VFW Street Coulterville,
Illinois 62237 or First United Methodist Church, Vit-Em-In Sunday School
Class 215 North Walnut Street St. Elmo, Illinois.
Online Condolences: www.KesselFH.com
James was born on March 2, 1921 in Coulterville, Illinois the son of:
William H. and Zema Lee (Hollifield) Smith. He attended Jr. College in
Iola Kansas where he played baseball. In 1942, Jim was recruited to play
minor league baseball for the division of the New York Yankees in Missouri
called the Joplin Miners, when he enlisted in the Army Air Force.
He served in World War II from 1942 to 1945, attaining the Rank of 1st
Lieutenant of the 15th Air Force, 727 Bomb Squadron, 451st Bomber Group.
His crew flew 35 successful missions with no loss of life and in 1945,
he received the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal for Meritorious Service
for a raid over Austria.
On August 28, 1944, in Morganfield, Kentucky he married Sylvia Ruth (Johnson)
Smith; she preceded him in death on July 24, 2006.
After his stint in the service, he was promoted to Class A Baseball, but
he decided to attend college at SIU Carbondale where he received his Bachelors
Degree and restarted the baseball program since its suspension due to
the war and played baseball with several other veterans. He received his
Masters Degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and began his
post graduate studies at SIU Edwardsville.
Jim was a member of the First United Methodist Church and Vit-Em-In Sunday
School Class, Coulterville VFW Post 6865, 50+ year member of the Morrisonville
Masonic Lodge, Illinois Retired Teachers Association of Fayette County,
Contributor to the SIU Carbondale Athletic Association, Charter member
of St. Elmo Golf Club, assisted in the establishment of Mid-State Special
He was also, Past President and member of the St. Elmo Lion's Club and
also 2009 St. Elmo Citizen of the Year. Jim taught and coached at several
schools in the state including: Morrisonville High School from 1948 to
1963 where the staff and students still fondly call him "Coach".
He was superintendent of St. Elmo Community Unit District # 202, from
1965 until he retired in 1985.
Jim is survived by: Son: Brian (Wife: Beth) Smith of Mattoon, Daughter:
Julie (Husband: Roger) Cain of Oregon, Ill. and Daughter-in-Law: Deberah
Smith of Morrisonville, Ill. Four Grandchildren: Monica (Husband: Brad)
Wilhelm of Manteno, Todd (Wife: Heather) Smith of Peoria, Alex Cain of
Oregon and Payton Smith of Mattoon. Great Grandson: Robert Wilhelm, one
nephew and three nieces.
He was preceded in death by: Parents, Wife: Sylvia, Son: Eric Smith on
October 6, 2001, Sisters: Billie Patton and infant Lisbeth Smith.
Obituary written by family members.
Online guest book at www.legacy.com/ herald-review/Obituaries. asp