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James’ life began April 11, 1942, in Barbourville, Kentucky. He grew up in the Flat Lick / Turkey Creek, Kentucky area and then as a young adult moved to Michigan. James worked in construction as a crane operator up to retirement. In his spare time you could find him golfing, fishing, hunting, and enjoying fast cars.

James loved his family and he leaves behind a large, loving one to cherish his memory including: seven children, Marcus Smith, James (Rhonda) Smith, Marvin (Lisa) Smith, Oscar (Brandy) Smith, Amanda (David) Whiting, Kathrine (Tony) Caporossi, and Jordan Smith; 24 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; five brothers, Rondal, Harold (Debbie), Jody (Kristine), Michael (Shannon), Terry (Billie); three sisters, Anna Mae (Sonny), Cledia (Roger), and Sally Janett; and many nieces and nephews.

James died Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, at home surrounded by family.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Rebecca Smith and three sisters, Corine, Sherrill, and Carlyon Fay.

Funeral services will be celebrated Friday, Sept. 15, 2023 at 12 p.m. with visitation prior starting at 11 a.m. at Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet. Burial will follow in Fish Cemetery in Covert. You are invited to leave a message of comfort for James’ family at


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