Clarence Smith

Obituary of Clarence James Smith

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Clarence James Smith was born August 23, 1934, in Willow Branch Township, Illinois. He was one of three sons born from the union of Clarence G. and Anora D. (Lubbers) Smith. Jim, as he became known, was a 1952 graduate of Deland High School in Illinois. 

During his high school years, Jim started as a young mechanic in his father’s auto garage shop, Smith’s Garage, in Deland. His pride and love for his country led Jim to served proudly in the United States Army after college. 

Jim was a true hard worker, his commitment to his craft was evident throughout his life. After working in his dad’s shop until 1970, he ventured into a successful career as an operator at General Cable. After retiring in 1994, he continued to contribute his expertise, working at the Walmart auto department until 1999.

While working at General Cable, Jim met and married the former Vicki Lynn Adams, and with a compassionate heart and a deep sense of responsibility, Jim formed a bond with her children. It was no surprise he adopted Vicki’s children and raised them as his own.

Jim was a man of few words, but his presence spoke volumes. He had a remarkable sense of humor. A great listener, he made everyone feel valued and heard, giving them a special place in his heart. His gift giving told the tale he was really listening as the present was something that showed how well he really knew them. Jim's captivating blue eyes were a sight to behold, reflecting the kindness and warmth that radiated from within him. His family often remarked that he smiled with his eyes, demonstrating the genuine fondness he had for them. Although he was not a fan of Michigan winters, his profound love for his family brought him back from Arkansas, where he had initially retired.

A doting grandfather which began as early as T-ball games, Jim was a staple at every sporting event for his beloved granddaughters. Whether it was a court or field, he wholeheartedly supported and cheered his grandkids from the sidelines and was always interested in knowing how they performed if by chance he did not make the event. He was their biggest fan.

Life's simple pleasures meant the world to Jim. Gathering at the Brickhouse Diner in Dundee was a highlight for him, where he enjoyed engaging in meaningful conversations with several patrons, the cook, waitresses, and owners. Their company, kindness and the bonds he formed brought him immeasurable happiness.

In his leisure time, Jim found solace in the pages of adventure novels, whisking himself away into thrilling worlds. Crossword puzzles became a cherished pastime, which challenged his sharp mind and wit. The Fourth of July held a special place in his heart, as it became tradition to celebrate with grand fireworks and sparklers with his children and grandchildren.

Jim had a deep affinity for animals, always having dogs and cats as his faithful companions. He held a particular fondness for Junie, his daughter's German Shepherd Bulldog Pug mix. Junie was showered with treats and affection and pampered by Jim, embodying the love and care he had for all living beings.

Clarence James Smith, age 88, of Petersburg, passed away at 9:17pm on Thursday July 20, 2023, at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital. In addition to his passing, he is preceded by his parents: a niece: April Ann Smith and his wife: Vicki and a brother: Jerry Smith.

Left to cherish his memory, he leaves three children: Michael (April) Smith, Darci (Matthew) Marek, Danette (Sharon) Whitesmith; five grandchildren: Amber, James, Sara, Emily, Abigail; a brother: Dean A. Smith; three nephews: Richard, Jeff, Andrew and one niece: Jennifer.

Arrangements were entrusted to Merkle Funeral Service, Dundee; 297 Tecumseh Street, Dundee, Michigan 48131 (734) 529-3156. Cremation took place at the on-site crematory, Covenant Cremation of Erie, Michigan.  Interment in Goose Creek Township Cemetery in Deland, Illinois will take place on August 5th, at 11am. Online guests may visit to leave words of inspiration and comfort or to share a photo.