Jimmy Smith

September 23, 1934 ~ November 17, 2021 (age 87)


Jimmy Ray Smith, 87, of Rockingham passed away, November 17, 2021 at his home. He was born September 23, 1934 in Richmond County, the son of the late John Edward and Ida Mae Wallace Smith.
He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara Kirk Smith in 2018.
He graduated from Rockingham High School, class of 1952. Jimmy began his career at WAYN Radio when he was 16 years old and retired in 2013, creating a legacy that lives beyond his 62 years of service.
Rockingham and Richmond County were everything to Jimmy Smith, from his beginnings on the Mill Hill in the 30's and 40's to his move across the tracks in the 50's to the home that has been the Smith's ever since. Jimmy brought the love of his life, his bride, to that home in 1957 and added his girls, Karen and Pam in the 1960's, where they enjoyed being raised by the celebrity that was Jimmy Smith. Everyone knew him. Everyone spoke to him. Going in public with Jimmy even for a short errand always took twice as long because he always made time to talk with the people who spoke to him. He had a way of making everyone feel special. Everyone recalled listening to him in the mornings to hear his cowbell clang, to hear him go on about the delights of cheesy grits, and certainly to find out if an icy morning was going to mean there wouldn't be any school that day!
Jimmy Smith was part of the Civitan Club in the 70's and 80's and was honored to cover the annual Civitan breakfast via remote for WAYN. He interviewed anyone that would talk to him on those mornings from the mayor, to kids, to the Civitans cooking the breakfast. Knowing his love for cheesy grits, it was a natural fit for him, and he enjoyed it every time. Jimmy spent many years as the choir director, deacon, and Sunday school teacher at the East Rockingham Baptist Church (Heritage Baptist), where those who got to hear him sing, were the lucky ones. Jimmy hosted beauty local pageants, community events, was honored as the Richmond County Citizen of the Year in 1996, and supported all things related to Richmond County Schools, specifically anything associated with Richmond Senior High. Of all the times the people of Richmond County have heard his voice, the most inspiring was when he introduced The Marching Raiders as The Pride of Richmond County. His nearly ten years as a band booster were some of his happiest times.
Privately, Jimmy is remembered as being the one to talk to. The uncle, the cousin, the brother in law, the husband, the daddy, the granddaddy, the great granddaddy, and the friend who could talk about anything from rock n roll, to the Miss America Pageant, to politics, to the World Series Champions, Atlanta Braves. No one remembers him showing anger or speaking ill of others. He is remembered by the family and friends that knew him best as a kind man with unmatched heart and wit. His greatest joy in life was his family. He was thrilled to become a grandfather in 1986 and a great grandfather in 2015 and again in 2020. He embraced the roles 100 percent. Hayley, Kirkley, and JP were his heart. While he started off as their granddaddy and great granddaddy, he became their "Jimmy", just like he was to the people of Rockingham and Richmond County. His family would like to thank everyone for sharing so many wonderful memories of him and of all of the kind words about him. He loved all of you too.

The family will receive friends from 11:00 am till 12:30 p.m. Saturday, November 20, 2021 at Watson-King Funeral Home in Rockingham.
Surviving, His daughters, Karen Smith of Rockingham and Pamela Smith and partner Mandi Parker of Wilmington; Granddaughter, Hayley Gordon and husband Chip of Hamlet; Great grandchildren, Kirkley Adams Gordon and Jesse Phillip “JP” Gordon.
Memorials may be made to Richmond Co. Hospice 1119 N US Hwy. #1 Rockingham, NC 28379 or Hamlet Post 49 Baseball 404 Springhill Ch. Rd. Hamlet, NC 28345.
Online condolences may be made at Watson-King Funeral Home in Rockingham is serving the Smith family.

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