James Smith

James Leroy "Jimi" Smith

1956 - 2021

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Obituary of James Leroy Smith





M E M O R I E S 


J I M M Y   L E E   S M I T H





NOVEMBER 19, 1956 ~ APRIL 6, 2021

It is with tremendous sadness that the family of Jimmy “Dad” Smith announces his passing after twenty-six years of battling Multiple Myeloma, Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at the age of 64.

Jimmy Lee Smith was born November 19, 1956 in Jacksonville, MS. At the age of five, Jimmy’s mother Dicie Smith, moved her large family to Tacoma, WA.

Growing up, Jimmy showed natural athletic abilities and was a gifted student, who was very popular with his teachers and school mates.  

Jimmy graduated from Henry Foss High School in 1976. By this time, Jimmy earned his nickname “Dad” due to his maturity and lending a helping hand to his classmates. Jimmy was a standout defensive back when Henry Foss won 1975 State Championship Football (Foss (12-0) beat Richland (12-1) 17-7.   

Jimmy went to college on a basketball scholarship but eventually earned his Associates degree at Tacoma Community College where he discovered his two passions, teaching and coaching. During this time, he was playing on a variety of teams within Tacoma Metropolitan & Pierce County Parks leagues while working at the YMCA on Pearl St as an instructor. Jimmy was always busy changing clothes!

Soon enough, Jimmy was hired by Tacoma School District as a Special Education Para Educator at Henry Foss. For over 25 years, Jimmy worked with Special Needs students and coached Boys & Girls high school sports. His career high was Henry Foss Girls JV Basketball under the tutelage of Jim Black (Joyce).   

On August 10, 1985, Jimmy made two decisions, he would marry the love of his life Archelle Shipman and change the spelling of his first name to “Jimi”, a Frenchy version to compete with his wife. As man and wife, they purchased a home near Henry Foss and started a handsome family; Brenden Oliver Smith (11/17/86) and Bryce Allen Smith (12/22/1989).

Aside from coaching countless male and female athletes over the years. Jimi was driven to give back to his 253 community by volunteering to local organizations, i.e., MultiCare, American Cancer Society-Discovery Shop and The Grand Cinema. Jimi’s opus was the Seattle Mariners Grounds Crew Coat Drive with Bob Christopherson, Roy Young, Roger Cartwright, Jen Gaube and Lauren Christopherson.  The Coat Drive provided coats to YWCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, Tacoma Rescue Mission, FISH and churches.

Jimi will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 35 years, his sons and three grandchildren, Olivia, Xarion and Harper. Jimi will be remembered for his cabin adventures with mother-in-law Suzanne Swanson, brother in-law, David, Maranda, and Dyton Shipman. Jimmy will be painfully missed by his living siblings, Larry, Arletha, Randy, Willie, David, Michael, and John. Along with many beautiful nieces and nephews.

Due to Washington State COVID restrictions, Jimi’s Celebration of Life will be for immediate family only. To be held at 3:30PM, on Saturday, May 1, at the Smith’s residence, 1618 S Mullen St, president by Chaplain Pierre Allegre from Multicare Hospice.

When permitted, we will host another celebration for Jimi that includes extended families, friends, Mariner’s Ground Crew and our beloved 253 community.


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