James Oscar Smith, age 96, went to be with his Heavenly Father on March 4, 2021 at Conway Regional Medical Center in Conway, Arkansas. Oscar was born on December 21, 1924 in Prim Arkansas to the late John Elbert Smith and Ila Elizabeth Barnum Smith. Oscar was a lifelong resident of Prim, and attended Sunny Slope General Baptist Church.
Oscar served in the United States Army. He was a Korean War veteran. He spent two years in active duty and another four years in the Army Reserves. Oscar loved his country and serving his country was a duty he honored. He served as Sugar Camp’s Election Chair for many years as another way to contribute to his country and community. Oscar valued public service.
To know Oscar was to know a man who loved his family. Oscar spent his life investing in his family and the upbringing of his children. His quiet, steady presence was a constant in their lives. He made sure his family was raised in church and knew their Savior. He was the cornerstone of his family.
Oscar was a lifetime farmer. He began his farming work with his father, J.E. Smith. During his years as a farmer, he raised a variety of animals. He raised sheep, chickens, hogs, and cattle. He loved being out on his four-wheeler checking his cows. He was invested in his life’s work. Oscar instilled in his children the importance of hard work and appreciating the blessings in life. He wasn’t a man of a lot of fuss. He enjoyed the simple things in life: a good meal with his family, watching the World Series or The Price is Right, taking the grandkids for four-wheeler rides, tossing the baseball around in the yard, and being outside on the farm. He could often be found tinkering in his shop, listening to The Swap Shop, or going to a good auction here and there. He was never in a hurry, and he made moments with his family count.
Oscar made sure that his family was a close-knit group. He loved traditions. Whether it was the annual Christmas tree hunt, the yearly game of Monopoly on Christmas Eve, family wood hauling on Thanksgiving, or regular Sunday dinners, Oscar was always present and at the center of the activity. Oscar spent his life surrounded by a family that loved him, and nothing made his face light up more than his grandkids. He was their storyteller, the Grandpa who loved their ballgames and watching them play, and was always interested in their latest adventures. He was never too busy to join in their game of pretend or to laugh at their jokes -- even if the jokes weren’t that funny. His grandkids were the apple of his eye.
Oscar was preceded in death by his parents; two sons, John Earl Smith and Tommy Edward Smith; one brother; Barnum Smith; four sisters; Buena Turney, Louise Smith, Ora Lee Hipp, and Willie Orsburn.
Oscar is survived by his wife of 68 years, Norene Hewitt Smith; one son; Jeffery Smith (Renee) of Prim, Arkansas; three daughters; Marilynn Mathews of Bryant, Arkansas, Janelle Knew (Randy) of Heber Springs, Arkansas, Jamie Wilcox (Wayne) of Greenbrier, Arkansas; one daughter-in-law, Sandy Smith of Prim, Arkansas; two sisters; Ruth Hipp of Woodrow, Arkansas, and Ruby Stark of Heber Springs, Arkansas; nine grandchildren, Kristie Baker, Brandon Knew, Brett Knew (Rebekah), Drew Smith, Jordan Smith (Sky), Jessie Wilcox, Alyssa Smith, Mandy Smith, and Mallory Smith; Four Great-Grandchildren, Elliana Knew, Everly Knew, Reese Smith and Sydney Smith, and many family and friends.
Funeral Service will be 3:00 PM, Sunday, March 7, 2021, at Sunny Slope General Baptist Church in Edgemont, Arkansas with Darvin Carlton and Brian Harlan officiating. Visitation will begin one hour prior to service. Interment will be in Sunny Slope Cemetery. The family asks in lieu of flowers that donations be made to The Tommy Smith Scholarship Fund, In care of Jeffery Smith 7295 Greers Ferry Road, Greers Ferry, AR 72067 or Prim Fire and EMS, Prim, Arkansas. Arrangements are by Heber Springs Funeral Home, 1199 Wilburn Road, Heber Springs, Arkansas 72543.
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