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James E. Smith, 74, West Des Moines, IA, formerly of Fargo, passed away Sunday, August 12, 2018, at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
James (Jim) Edward Smith was born on February 1st, 1944 in Fargo, ND to Warren and Dorothy (Kohler) Smith.
Jim was both a cowboy and a pilot. In his younger years, he rode bulls and bareback broncs. Later, he graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in aviation administration and worked as an instructor and a charter pilot. He was rated in fixed wing single and multi-engine airplanes1 and also rotor wing aircraft2. He served in the Army National Guard where he flew helicopters. Jim worked as a Flight Safety Inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for 30 years before retiring in 2006. He enjoyed spending time outdoors and loved to hunt, fish, ride horseback, and target shooting. He was married to his wife Diane for over 45 years and they had two children of which he was very proud. He loved to travel across the country visiting his countless friends and stopping at all the cowboy and military museums along the way. He deeply loved his family and would do anything for them. He always ended his conversations with them by saying “I love you”. He enjoyed playing with his grandchildren and teasing them.
Jim is survived by his wife Diane (Fraase), son Shawn (Amy) Smith, daughter Karin (Justin) Vomacka, and grandchildren Teller Vomacka, Dempsey Vomacka, and Bailey Johnson.
He is preceded in death by his parents Warren and Dorothy Smith and Diane’s parents Earl and Elsie Fraase.
1 Airline Transport Pilot, Airplane Single + Multi-engine, Airplane Single Engine Sea, Commercial Privileges
2 Rotorcraft Helicopter, BH-206; BH-222; CE-500
In Iowa, there will be a visitation from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. service Thursday, August 16th at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines.
Visitation in West Fargo: 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, August 20, 2018, at West Funeral Home.
Funeral: 11 a.m. Monday, August 20 at West Funeral home.
Burial: Buffalo Cemetery, Buffalo, ND
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, the MS Society or the charity of your choice.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center