James Stafford "Staff" Smith was born in Oak Park and baptized at St. Angela's Catholic Church in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. Staff graduated from St. Catherine of Sienna Grammar School in 1947. A member of the varsity swim team and graduate of Fenwick High School in 1951, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame
in 1955, majoring in marketing. Staff served our country in the United States Army
, in active duty from 1955-1958, where he served oversees in Tokyo and skied Mt. Fuji. He served in the Army Reserves from 1958-1962. Staff pursued performing arts as an author, and creating many copyrighted plays, including The High Rise Vampire and Papa's Letter. He was an extra in the movie North by Northwest, filmed at Chicago's Union Station in 1958 and acted in various films in California, including at MGM Studios and in the Chicago region. Staff was committed to staying physically fit and was a lifelong member at Vic Tanny Health Club, which eventually became Chicago Health Club in Oak Park. Additionally, he worked for a pharmaceutical company, among other jobs. Most important, he was a loving and devoted caretaker for many family members, including his parents, aunts, uncles and sister. A man of genuine faith in God and ardent participant in the Roman Catholic Church, Staff was a daily communicant at mass at St. Catherine of Siena Church for most of his adult life. He was a faithful devotee of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every Holy Thursday and enjoyed the tradition of a Christmas Eve tour of all Catholic basilicas in the Chicago region, often getting home at 5:00 a.m. Dear brother of John Joseph (Carol) and the late Catherine Marie Malec; adoring uncle to John V. II, Michael Joseph, Steven Joseph, Paul Joseph, Ann Marie, Peter Joseph, David Joseph, Cathleen Marie, Marirose, Julie Ann Marie, Mathew Stephen, John Joseph, Danielle Therese and Suzanne Elizabeth in addition to 30 grand nephews and grand nieces; beloved son of the late John V. Smith and Mary Catherine (nee Stafford) Smith; devoted nephew of the late Will, Bernard, Frank, Mary, John, Phillip, Leo, Ellen, Thomas, Lydia "Girlie", Anthony, Gertrude and Joseph on his father's side, and the late Ellen, Josephine, James and John on his mother's side. Staff was a friend to many and a fixture of Oak Park for all of his 79 years. Staff was the central figure of the Smith and Stafford families and the conveyor of all family news and recipes and he will be missed by everyone he touched. Visitation Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m. until time of funeral mass 11 a.m. at St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy Church, 38 N. Austin, Oak Park, IL. Interment Queen of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy parish are appreciated. Donation info: 708-386-8077.