Go Back

James Franklin Smith


James Franklin Smith joined his Savior Jesus Christ and was reunited with a host of beloved family members and friends on Monday, June 5. Jim was born on August 13, l934 in Red River County to Lonnie Lee and Blanche Martin Smith.
He spent the early and middle years of his life in Merkel and Abilene. The expression “Jack of all trades" could be used to describe Jim. He seldom encountered a task that he could not master, and he had an admirable work ethic. Jim was always known to be the dependable, true friend who stood ready to help in any situation.
His work experiences include time spent in the oil fields of West Texas as a very young man, a talented salesman, construction supervisor for several companies involving travel throughout the United States. Ultimately, Jim owned and operated Central Air Conditioning Company in Abilene for many years.
Jim retired to Bandera where he was affectionately known as “Uncle Jim.” He spent many happy years there where he enjoyed cooking for crowds at numerous events on his famous Barbecue Pit. His joy was in serving others whether it be barbecue for Hunter’s Weekend or as the chief of coffee service at his beloved Ridin' the River Cowboy Church. Uncle Jim’s passing is Bandera’s loss, but surely Heaven’s gain. Uncle Jim’s strong faith was an example for many.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Lonnie Lee Smith and Blanche Martin Smith; his brothers, Morris Lee Smith, John Alvin Smith and Harold Lee Smith; his sisters, Doris Smith and Alma Lou Phillips; and his granddaughter, Hallie Elizabeth Taylor.
He is survived by his daughters, Debbie Melega, Linda Taylor and husband Charles; his grandchildren, Darrin Hogue, Missy Melega, Meredith Luskey and husband Stephen, and Claire Taylor; and his great-grandsons, Walker and Lyle Luskey.
A memorial celebration of Jim’s life was held at 6 pm, Wednesday, June 14, at the Ridin' the River Cowboy Fellowship, 5767 State Hwy 173, Bandera.