March 24, 1934 ~ March 15, 2021 (age 86)
James David Smith, 86, passed away on Monday, March 15, 2021, due to the cumulative effects of pneumonia, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s dementia, and Covid. Most of his adult life he was known as “JD” by his friends. JD was born on March 24, 1934, to his parents, John M. Smith and Hazel Clements Smith, who had a ranch near Briggs, TX. They had a large turkey production business, and JD learned early on how to help with the many chores involved in raising thousands of turkeys. He played basketball in high school. He attended college at South West Texas State University and received his BBA degree in 1955. During college he refereed basketball games on nights and weekends. He then was offered a teaching job at Liberty Hill, where he taught business courses and also coached girls’ basketball.
In 1957, he met Nancy Lee Mobley, who was living in Austin and working for a group of doctors as a medical technologist. They began dating and were married on February 22, 1958. JD had enlisted in the US Army Reserve in 1957 and he served six months active duty in the Army at Ft. Polk, LA during 1957 and 1958. He returned to the Army Reserve Center in Georgetown, TX to complete his military obligation, where he served at First-Sergeant until he received an Honorable Discharge in 1963. He returned to Liberty Hill, TX after serving active duty and served as the elementary school principal for one year.
In 1959, JD was offered a teaching job in Florence, TX, where he was elementary school principal. They moved to Florence and lived there until 1965. He later was promoted to be the Jr. High principal. They were blessed with two beautiful baby daughters while living there, Laurie Ann Smith and Cynthia Lynn Smith. In 1965, JD got the offer of a job at Gary Job Corps in San Marcos, TX, and the family moved to South Austin. They built a home there and the girls began school there. He and his family lived there for 17 years, and Nancy went back to work as a medical technologist at the Austin Diagnostic Clinic. JD worked toward getting a Master’s degree on nights and weekends. He was awarded a Master’s of Education degree from South West Texas State University in 1970, with a major in Counseling and Guidance. JD also got to enjoy one of his greatest pleasures- he joined the Austin BASS Club, and for many years he participated in fishing tournaments in lakes all over Texas and also in Mexico. He wore out several boats in the process.
JD worked at Johnston High School in Austin, TX, as Vocational Counselor from 1975 –1983. During this time he also taught business courses at Austin Community College at night. He got along very well with all of the students there, as he had in all the schools where he taught. His sense of humor was a delight to all who knew him.
In 1983, he moved to the suburbs near Round Rock, TX. He and Nancy bought a home on 3 acres that came with three big dogs. JD loved taking care of the mowing on his John Deere tractor. He even got a used John Deere for Nancy so she could help with the mowing. He soon gave up teaching her how to mow as he wanted, so he fired her. JD retired from 35 years of teaching in 1992, after receiving multiple awards and State recognition’s as Outstanding Vocational Counselor.
We got a motor home after having travel trailers and we went on many trips to Colorado and the southern United States and Canada. We also started going to Texas A&M football games in the motor home when Cindy enrolled at Texas A&M. JD loved going to those games and doing the tailgating on weekends, and we went to Aggie games for years.
JD is survived by his loving wife, Nancy Mobley Smith, his children Laurie Ann and Cynthia Lynn and her husband, Robert Lee Blake; three grandchildren who include Laura Elizabeth Marks and husband Harry Isensee III, James Hastings Marks and wife Kelsey Peltier Marks, and Katherine LeeAnn Brown and husband Bo Brown. He is also survived by his sister, Joyce Smith Knight. JD was predeceased by his parents and son in law, Alan Hastings Marks.
Funeral services will be at 2pm, Friday, March 19, 2021, at Stephenville Funeral Home in Stephenville, TX. Interment will follow at West End Cemetery in Stephenville. Those who so desire may make donations in JD’s memory to the American Cancer Society, or to the charity of their choice.
JD’s family wants to thank the staff, nurses, and doctors at Park Manor Southbelt in Houston for their loving care of JD for several years.