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James M. Smith, Sr.

March 3, 1940 November 7, 2020
James  M. Smith, Sr.
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Obituary for James M. Smith, Sr.
James Marshall Smith, Sr. life’s journey started on March 3, 1940, in the small town of Farmville, VA. He was born into a humble, Christian home to the late Mitchell and Annie Eliza West Smith. He was the ninth of thirteen children. Nine of his siblings (Mary, Garfield, Curtis, John, Samuel and Charlie Smith, Loveleen Bland Pollard, Sylvia Hicks Booker and Theresa Spradley) preceded him in death.

Marshall accepted the Spirit of Christ at an early age. He learned a Christian foundation from his parents, family, community and church. He was a member at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Farmville, VA.

He attended and graduated from Robert R. Moton High School, Farmville, VA in 1959. During his school years, he met and dated Thelma L. Eanes. They were later united in Holy Matrimony on December 13, 1959. From this union four children were born.

There were many life struggles in the 60’s and Marshall moved to Baltimore, MD for better opportunities. He worked and pursued an education in business. He knew about and experienced the injustice of the world. He became an advocate for civil rights. Marshall was blessed to be an honor guard for the late Martin Luther King, Jr. when he delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963, during the march on Washington.

Marshall moved back to Farmville, VA in 1964. He worked hard as an entrepreneur, selling products, building homes, wheeling and dealing, pushing and pulling to provide a home for his family. The more he worked in the world. He became part of the world. He did all the worldly things. Despite his Christian upbringing, despite the love and advice of his family, he got lost in the world. He lost his way. He went many places, he saw and did many things. He met many people and he had many experiences. Some experiences were positive and some were negative. But, he learned from every storm, every season and every experience. Trying to obtain much, he lost it all. But in the end, he remembered what was important - - God loves and forgives.

His broken spirit was drawn back to God’s grace, forgiveness and perfection. Everything that seems negative, brings something positive. During his last days, he would pray, “I know I haven’t done everything right nor wrong. God cover my family. Let all my wrongs be a rightness for my family”. He prayed God would grant his family and himself a sense of peace and forgiveness as his spirit journeyed to its final resting place and as his body waste away. May we have a new beginning when we meet again anew. God is love and forgiveness is the final form of love.

In his last years, forgiven by many and granted favor to live with his daughter, Ojetta in Chesterfield, VA. He would say, “She’s taking good care of me. She’s taking better care of me than I ever cared for myself. Thank-you for every thing”.

The completion of Marshall’s journey was on November 7, 2020. He is survived by his former wife, Thelma E. Smith; children, Thelma S. Walker (James), James M. Smith, Jr. (Joyce), Ojetta Ransome and Alvita Patton; ten grandchildren, Marcus, Tynesha, Matthew and Jessica Walker, Jamie and Jasmine Smith, Taylor and Tyretta Ransome, Stephen and Maliyah Patton; seven great grandchildren, Kyra and Jaylen Gooden, Kylique and Jaziah Smith, Lilaya Battle, Isaiah and Isaac Adams; two brothers, Hugh and Emmanuel Smith (Sharon); one sister, Odessa Doaty; and an abundance of nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law and friends.

Farewell Mr. Smith, James, Marshall, Jim, Daddy, Grandpa, Pappa and Pops.
We love you, Rest Well

Private Services

Michael W. Hawkes Funeral Home of Amelia in charge of arrangements.
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