James Harold Smith was born on December 24, 1942 in Starkville, Mississippi to Ms. Lula Roberson and Mr. L.D. “Hog Eye” Smith. He departed his life on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
James confessed Christ at an early age and was a member of Greater Ebenezer M.B. Church, where he was an active member and served in several capacities, including deacon and church clerk, until his health would no longer allow him to do so. He graduated from Henderson High School in 1962, and received an Associate of Arts Degree from Mary Holmes College in 1964. From there he attended Jackson State University and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1966. He also received a Masters of Education (1974) and an Educational Specialist degree (1976), both from Mississippi State University, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Mississippi in1995.
James was a lifelong learner and advocate for children’s literacy, and he devoted much of his life to being an educator. He worked as a teacher, coach, and counselor for several years in the Oktibbeha County School District before becoming Assistant Superintendent in 1980. In 1984, he moved to the Starkville School District as principal of Armstrong Middle School, and, in 1986, became the Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Federal Programs where he worked until he retired in 2004.
He was married for 45 years to the former Helen Hall of Starkville Mississippi and to this union was born three children: Yolanda Barry, and Donovan.
He was active in many professional, social and civic organizations including being the past Worshipful Master of the Rising Star Lodge #31, as well as a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Inc.
His father, L.D. Smith, preceded him in death. He leaves to cherish his memory and celebrate his life a loving family: A caring, loving, and devoted wife, Helen Hall Smith; His mother, Mrs. Lula Roberson Evans; three children: Yolanda (Carlos) Breaux of Columbus, MS; Barry (Tanya) Smith of Lawrenceville, GA; Donovan Smith of Houston, TX. He also leaves 4 loving siblings: Fannie (Edward) Simmons of Atlanta, GA; Bernard Roberson of Starkville, Mississippi; Vera (Ellis) Grant of Orlando, FL. He also leaves 4 grandchildren (Tysen, Jaysen, Tai, and Landon) and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.