March 14, 1935 - Oct. 16, 2011
McCOOK, Nebraska -- James A. "Smitty" Smith passed away Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, at his home in McCook. He was 76 years old.
Smitty was born on March 14, 1935, on the family farm in Morton County, North Dakota to Fred J. and Elsie (Aronson) Smith, Sr. He attended school in Mandan, North Dakota, receiving his high school diploma.
On April 30, 1957, he entered the US Air Force. He was honorably discharged on April 14, 1961. After his discharge, Smitty returned to North Dakota and farmed for a year. He then moved to Iowa where he worked at a rock quarry for a road construction company. The road construction eventually brought him to McCook and he made this his permanent home.
On July 31, 1990, he was united in marriage to Karen J. Bell in McCook and happily became the step-father to her two daughters. Smitty loved to do mechanic work and often repaired small engines for many people in the surrounding community. When he wasn't working Smitty liked to read and spend time with his poodle, Taco.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Fred and Elsie Smith, Sr.; brother-in-law, Jack Kautzman; and two sisters-in-law, Simone Smith and Shirley Smith.
Survivors include his wife, Karen Smith of McCook; two daughters, Tamela "Tami" and husband, Dwight Laurie of McCook and Michelle and husband, Robbin Romberg, of Douglas, Wyoming; four grandchildren, Ashley and Emily Laurie of McCook and Spencer and Nathan Romberg of Douglas; two sisters, Virginia Kautzman of Bismarck, North Dakota and Kathleen and husband, Howard Koch, of Mandan; six brothers, Fred Smith, Jr. and wife, Leonie, of Mandan, Raymond Smith and wife, Millie, of Sun City West, Arizona, Warren Smith and wife, Betty Carol, of Mandan, Wayne Smith of Longmont, Colorado, Charles Smith and wife, Sheila, of Bismarck, and Norman Smith of Tucson, Arizona; numerous nieces, nephews, and a host of family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in his name.
Memorial services will be Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, 2 p.m. at Carpenter Breland Chapel with Jerry Beckenhauer officiating. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in McCook.
Carpenter Breland Funeral Home of McCook is in charge of the arrangements. Friends may go online at to extend condolences to the family.