In memory of
James R. Smith
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In memory of
James R. Smith
James R. Smith Hyde Park - James R. Smith, 70, passed away on October 6, 2016, after a long battle with cancer, at home with his loving wife Joan and adoring sons Jimmy and Billy by his side. He was affectionately known by his friends and family as Jim, Jimmy or Smitty. Jim saw joy in life and although cancer became part of his existence, he never allowed it to become his entire existence. Jim enjoyed every day he lived. Jim was born at Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY, on May 9th 1946 to Eunice Hatfield-Smith and John "Jack" Smith and grandson to, New York State Senator Ernest I. Hatfield and his wife Gertrude Hatfield. Jim was a graduate of Poughkeepsie High School (PHS), Class of '64, Syracuse University (SU) with a BS in Forestry and, in 1968, from NYS College of Environmental Science with a BS in Wood Products Engineering. Athletics were a huge part of Jim's academic life and, during his time at PHS Jim was the football quarterback, became 17th in the State in swimming and diving and began his lifelong love of crew on the PHS Rowing Team. At SU, Jim played lacrosse, rugby and continued to row his scull. Jim was also a proud brother of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Inspired by his lifelong passion for Scouting, Jim was an avid outdoorsman; he loved fishing, especially fly fishing at remote locations around the world, on the Beaverkill and most recently the rivers of Iceland and Greenland. Jim enjoyed hunting, trapping, snow and water skiing, farming, raising birds, travelling the world and walking his two bird dogs, Shaka and Angel. Jim proudly earned his Eagle Scout at the age of 14 and renewed his commitment to the Boy Scouts when his boys Billy and Jimmy followed in his Scouting path. Billy earned Springbok Scout (South African equivalent to Eagle Scout) and Jimmy earned Eagle Scout ranking making their proud father even prouder. While living in South Africa Jim was active with Billy at the 5th, 9th and 11th Pietermaritzburg Scouts as a Local and District Chairman in the Council, Assistant District Commissioner. As a result of his dedication, Jim earned the South African Boy Scouts Distinguished Service Merit Medal. In the United States, Jim continued his career in Scouting with Jimmy. Jim was the Assistant Scout Master and a Committee Member of Troop 80. Jim and Jimmy attended the 50th Anniversary Jamboree at Camp Nooteeming. In 2003, Jim was the Assistant Scout Master for the World Jamboree in Thailand where he was the Merit Badge Councilor for Rifle, Shot Gun, Fishing and Fly Fishing. In 2009, Jim was a founding member of Scouts Venturing Crew 80, was a Committee Member and a Committee Treasurer. Jim always made the family's Quaker Lane Farm available to scouts for accomplishing their merit badges in winter camping, fishing, hunting and shooting. In addition to Scouting, Jim was enthusiastically involved in many community organizations in both South Africa and the US. In South Africa; Jim was President of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce and Industries, brought his experience and business acumen to the Boards of St. Christopher's School, Timbuletu Education Trust, Royal Agricultural Society, Peace Resolution Committee, the Victoria Club and was a member of the Victoria Country Club. Through his vast community service efforts Jim met several times with President Frederik de Klerk, President Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. Upon returning to the US Jim was the Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Dutchess County Historical Society, Treasurer of the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association, Hudson River Rowing Association Development Committee for the Boathouse Facility and At-Large Member, Cunneen-Hackett Art Center and was an Adult Advisor with the Pleasant Valley Trout & Game Youth Group. In addition to Jim's dedicated volunteerism, he was also a member of the Mayflower Society, Towns of Hyde Park and Clinton Historical Societies, National Maritime Historical Society, Marist College Red Fox Club, Hudson Valley Sciontists Club, Travel Century Club, Poughkeepsie Tennis Club, when he took up Squash, member of the former Amrita Club and Circumnavigator Club, travelling around the world five times and visiting 120 countries. Recently, Jim travelled to Wyoming for his granddaughter's christening, then on to Hong Kong, and back to fly fish in the Catskills, all while coordinating around his chemotherapy treatments. Jim and Joan's final trip together was this past July. They flew to London then boarded the Queen Mary II for the return trip. The highlight of their trip was being privileged to sit for dinner at the Captain's Table. As a member of Free and Accepted Masons, Jim was active with the Hendrick Hudson Lodge, Red Hook Lodge, Dover/Oblong Lodge, and Master of the Warren Lodge during their 200th Anniversary. Jim worked hard his entire adult life. Beginning in High School, Jim's first job, which continued through college, was as a lifeguard at Spratt Pool in the City of Poughkeepsie. From 1968 through 1986 Jim was employed by the Calgon Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA with the Industrial & Municipal Water Treatment Division as their Marketing and Product Manager and International Export Manager. From 1986 to 1998, Jim was the Managing Director, CEO and Owner of Floccotan Pty Ltd. While with Floccotan he was involved with the manufacturing of specialty chemicals in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. From 1998 till his passing, Jim enjoyed retired life on Quaker Lane Farm in Hyde Park, New York. While "retired" Jim could be found farming hay, collecting and processing maple syrup, growing oyster mushrooms, raising quail and chukar partridge game birds. In recognition of Jim's professional career and volunteer service he was listed in the 97-98 Who's Who In International Executives, the 99-2000 Who's Who of the World, and the 2002 Rowland Ward's Record of Big Game Africa - Nyala at Mkuzi, KZN, SA and Southern Bush Duiker at Pongola. Further, along with his wife Joan, Jim was honored to receive the Dutchess County Historical Society's "Helen Wilkinson Reynolds Award". Jim was the consummate gentleman, quintessential family man and, notwithstanding all his professional and personal goals and accomplishments, his family and friends always came first. Jim is survived by his wife Joan, whom he met at Krieger Elementary School in the City of Poughkeepsie, were High School and College sweethearts. The two were married at the Congregational Church Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa on May 9th in 1985. Jim is also survived by his two sons, Jimmy Smith Jr. and Lieutenant Commander William (Billy) Guheen III (United States Navy), Billy's wife, Kalia, and their daughter Tegan. In addition to his immediate family Jim is survived by his sister in law, Carol Smith, niece, Jessica Smith, nephew, Michael Smith, brothers in law, Raymond O'Connell and B.J. Joe O'Connell, Joe's wife Linda, many wonderful cousins, nephews, nieces and friends from around the world. Jim is also survived by his "Poughkeepsie Family"; his best friend Tom Haight and wife Susan, Tom and Sue's three children; Erik Haight (Amy), Meghan Guion (Jim) and Brian Haight and by Jim's dear friends John and Cheryl Haight and John's son, Kevin Haight (Tracy) whom lived and worked with Jim and Joan at Floccotan Pty Ltd. for several years years in South Africa. Jim was predeceased by his parents Jack and Eunice Smith, his brother Tony Smith, Grandparents Senator E.I. Hatfield and Gertrude Hatfield, and Grandparents in Law Bernard and Ruth Haynes O'Connell. For the care and thoughtfulness Jim received over the years, the family wishes to extend special thanks to Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Hudson Valley Hematology & Oncology and to the wonderful angels of Hudson Valley Hospice. Visitation will be held Saturday, October 15th from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM at Wm. G. Miller Funeral Home, at 371 Hooker Avenue in Poughkeepsie with a Masonic Ceremony and Color Guard from BSA Crew 80 and Troop 80. Services and Memory of Life will be held at Wm. G. Miller Funeral Home on Sunday, October 16th at 11:00 AM followed with the burial at Crum Elbow Cemetery, Quaker Meeting House on North Quaker Road in Hyde Park. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Shriners Children's Hospital, 516 Carew Street, Springfield MA, 01104 or BSA Crew 3080 Hyde Park, care of S. Porach, 25 Wendy Drive, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603. For directions and condolences, please visit http://www.wmgmillerfuneral
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