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James L. Smith


SoVaNow.com / July 28, 2020

James was born Oct. 30, 1938 in Mayodan, N.C. to John Henry Smith and Mildred Manuel Smith. His dad was a tobacco farmer, so he was walking behind a plow when he was only seven. He was always a hard worker.

He drove a school bus for Stoneville High School as a teenager and clerked at the local grocery store. He joined the Navy after high school graduation and served for twenty-three years. He went to Vietnam two times and was awarded the Vietnamese Medal of Honor for his service.

Upon military retirement he moved to the farm in Buffalo Junction, where he lived for the past 42 years.

He was the plant engineer for Daystrom Furniture in South Boston, for seven years and then went to South Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary to study pastoral ministry during which time he also became very active in Gideons International.

During his 30 years as a pastor he served at Olive Branch Baptist in Roxboro, N.C., Triple Springs Baptist in Roxboro, N.C., Second Baptist Church in South Boston, and Concord Baptist in Creedmoor, N.C. where he retired on Oct. 29, 2017.

Knowing very little about computers he wrote out all of his messages on yellow-lined tablets and tried to have one available, even after retirement if ever he was needed to fill in for another pastor. He was called “Preacher Jim” by his congregationalists who came to love and respect him. People could always depend on him for a laugh. He served on the board of directors of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia for three years and one year as vice president.


He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joyce Ewing Smith; one daughter, Janine Smith Todd and son-in-law, William Edward Todd of Delta Junction, Alaska; one granddaughter, Rebekah Todd Gooding and husband, Richard Franklin Gooding of Forks, Wash.; one great granddaughter, Grace Marie Gooding; one sister, Geneva Zilinsky of Honolulu, Hawaii; one brother-in-law, Paul Robert Ewing; two nephews, Cody and Davey Ewing and two nieces, Tabby Stakes and Michelle Huey.


A funeral will be held Thursday, July 30, at 11 a.m. at the Eakes Funeral Home Chapel in Oxford, N.C. by Rev. Don Bryant. Burial will be at Ridge-View Memorial Gardens in Eden, N.C.

Viewing will be one hour prior to the funeral at the funeral home.

Eakes Funeral Home will be observing social distancing for all services and asks that everyone in attendance wear a mask.


Online condolences can be made to http://www.eakesfuneralhome.com Select obits.

Eakes Funeral Home is assisting the Smith Family.


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