James Edgar Smith, 89, died Aug. 23, 2018, at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth. He was born Jan. 16, 1929, in Portland, the first of three children of Edgar C. Smith and Lily E. (Gilliam) Smith.
Jim grew up in South Portland and graduated from South Portland High School. He honorably served in the United States Air Force from 1950 until 1970. He retired as a master sergeant (E7) and was his unit’s first sergeant.
When Jim was stationed at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, he met Nellie “Joanne” Freeman of Milbridge, and they were married in 1953. They were stationed at various bases during his 20 years and 20 days enlistment, from Maine to Spain, with North Dakota in between. They retired to Milbridge in 1970, where they built their home. Jim’s fondest wish was to go lobster fishing. After a few years working at REPCO in Gouldsboro, gaining experience in building fiberglass boats, he bought a hull and proceeded to build his own lobster boat. After fishing for a few years, Jim built a second boat for himself, as well as a boat shop to work in. Soon people found out about his building skills, and he was then in the boat building business.
Jim was a 60 year member of Kenduskeag Lodge No. 137 AF&AM, being raised a Master Mason on April 30, 1958. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of the Consistory, Valley of Portland, and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bangor. He was created a member of Anah Shrine on June 19, 1976.
Jim was predeceased by his father in 1957, his mother in 1992, his sister Geraldine Dexter in 1995, and recently by his loving wife of 64 years, Joanne. He is survived by his sister Susan Bailey and her husband, Steve, of North Yarmouth; a nephew James R. Fish, his wife, Alice, and children, Stephanie, Devon and Arianna; a nephew Tracey J. Smith, his wife, Katheryn, and daughters, Lillian and Andrea. He will be sadly missed by longtime neighbors, Clay, Susan and Cameron Rumery of Milbridge, two sisters-in-law and several additional nieces and nephews.
Although they did not have children, they did have pets that meant the world to them — two miniature poodles, Penny and Dilly, and a very large and beautiful black and white cat, Checkers.
From the time he was a boy, lobster fishing with his grandfather off Bailey Island, Jim knew he wanted to lobster fish. In memory of Jim, donations may be made to the Eastern Maine Skippers Program for high school students who want to go into the marine industries. Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, P.O. Box 27, Stonington, ME 04681, with “EMSP” noted on the check.
A committal service with military honors will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Mt. Vernon Road in Augusta. Arrangements are under the direction and care of Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Milbridge.