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James's Story

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Dr. James W. Smith, beloved husband, father, brother and friend died peacefully at home Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, after a courageous struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Jim was born in Madison County and lived the majority of his life in Athens.
Dr. Smith graduated from Athens High School and later served in the U.S. Navy. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama. Dr. Smith then received his doctorate in medicine from The University of Alabama Birmingham, while also completing a residency at the University of Alabama Children's Hospital in Birmingham. Upon completion of his medical training, he practiced pediatric medicine in Athens for 33 years. He was selected by his peers as Master Pediatrician Fellow.
After retirement, Jim and wife Patty traveled through the U.S., enjoying their passion for the outdoors, hiking, bicycling, and camping. When not traveling, he was making beautiful things for family and friends in his wood working shop or laboring in his garden.
He was also a model airplane enthusiast and spent many hours constructing and flying the model planes. He had a zest for life, loved God, his family and friends, all children and especially those that he took care of in his medical practice. He was compassionate and generous to anyone in need of help. Dr. Smith was a member of Berea Baptist Church of Athens.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Wm. Thomas Smith and Mary Richardson Smith, his sister Geri Bruce and nephew Tyler Smith.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Patterson Smith; daughters Lisa Wilkes and husband Gary of Chattanooga, Susan Nelson and husband Bryan of Athens; grandchildren Jake Nelson and wife Sarah, Harrison and Meredith Nelson, Karen and Olivia Richardson. He is also survived by by stepchildren David Russell and wife Leisha of Athens, Sandy Russell of Athens, Kim Evans and husband Brian of Athens; step-grandchildren Mary Beth Burdick and husband Travis, Clay and Ashlyn Russell, Rebekah and Isaac Evens. He is also survived by brothers Dr. Thomas W. Smith of Athens, Dr. J. Roger Smith and wife Catherine of Birmingham; sisters Patricia Lambert of Athens, June Smith of Huntsville and many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to especially thank Hospice of Limestone County and the wonderful caregivers that helped Dr. Smith through his journey.
Services were held Jan. 16 at Berea Baptist Church on Lucas Ferry Road in Athens, with Spry Funeral Home directing the services. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Hospice of Limestone County or the Alzheimer's Association.
Published on January 16, 2017
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