James ""Poppy"" Smith, a long time Willits resident, passed away on December 10, 2013 of natural causes. He is now in the arms of his true love and smiling down on those he left behind. James was born on December 31, 1930 in Okemah, OK. His family moved to California in the 1940's and settled in Wasco where he met his true love, Nadine. They married, much to the chagrin of Nadine's father, and their marriage lasted 49 years until her death in 1999. James moved his young family to Willits in 1954 where he found work in the railroad industry. He found his calling as a logger and worked his way through the many facets of logging until he started his own company with partner, Harold Wyatt, called S & W Logging. James later bought out his partner and maintained the company until his retirement in 1997. He and Nadine travelled the country in their motor home for several years until settling back in Willits, his adopted hometown. Not comfortable with the retirement status, he continued working by cutting firewood on Dr. Bowen's ranch for several years.
James was a founding member of ACL (Associated California Loggers) where he was well known to have detailed personal conversations with Nadine on the radio for all to hear. In addition, he sponsored his S&W Logging Little League teams for several years where its biggest supporter, Nadine, was always there rooting the team on.
His driving capacity, as many in Willits will know, prompted him to forego his vehicle driving and pursue his other transportation means in order to get around. Many will know James as the "Scooter Man" because he could be found driving all over town greeting people wherever he went. Sometimes he could even be found on his scooter, under a tree, taking one of his many naps. To some, he was also called the "Candy Man", as he was known to take boxes of candy to people throughout town during the holidays.
James is best known for his love for his large family and is affectionately known as "Poppy". His love not only reached out to his immediate family of more than 50, but to his extended family as well. He loved people and was never a man without words of advice. For those who knew him, he was considered charming, compassionate, loving, kind, honest and would give the shirt off his back if somebody was in need.
James is preceded in death by his wife, Nadine; his son, Ronnie; his parents, James and Pearl, his brothers, AJ and Virgil and sister, Treva.
He leaves behind his sister, Thelma Gregory of Atascadero, CA, brother Arlie Smith (Jeannie) of Willits, sister in law Kathy Brown (Rob) and brother-in-law Harold Maddox of Willits; his children Marilyn Patchen of Skiatook, OK; Lillian Vasquez of Denver, CO; Sue Silveria of Willits; Jim Smith of Miami, FL; AJ Smith(Lisa) of Emmett, ID and Karen Davis (Andy) of Willits and his "adopted" Cuban son Mike Diaz of Miami, FL.; his 18 grandchildren: Dwayne, Karna, Troy, Tabatha, Sara, Amber, Jamie, Veronica, AJ, Teresa, Bryan, Kaycee, Maria, Andyah, Rene, Erika, Rachel and Brandon; 35 great grandchildren; 2 great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Many thanks to Diane and Gary Ford and Mary Burgess for their many years of friendship and support .
His family is extremely grateful to Dr. Dawson and Dr. Bowen and staff for their decades of restructuring the bionic man and keeping him around longer for us to enjoy. In addition, the family would like to thank the staff at Northbrook Healthcare Center for their dedication and care during his stay.
"In the meadows of our mind, Poppy, you walk softly."
Services were held at Anker-Lucier Mortuary on Saturday, December 14, 2013 with private cremation services to be held at a later date.