James H. Smith, 86, retired Chief of the Warwick Fire Department, died Saturday June 10, 2017 at Scalabrini Villa, North Kingstown, he was the beloved husband of Barbara A. (Kosiba) Smith.
Born in Warwick, Jim was a son of the late Harold A and Dorothy F. (Fisher) Smith. Jim had the distinction of being the first permanent member of the Warwick Fire Department to advance through the ranks from Private to Chief of Department. His involvement with firefighting began when, as a small child, he served as mascot of the volunteer company in Greenwood. From 1950 through 1956, he served as a volunteer. During this period, he served with the United States Air Force and received an Honorable discharge after four years of service. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant – Crew Chief in charge of an airplane and five-man crew. With the inception of the permanent fire department in Warwick, Jim was sworn in as a Private on May 29, 1956. From that point he went through the ranks as follows: Lieutenant 1959, Captain in 1966, Battalion Chief in 1979, Deputy Chief in 1983, and Chief of the Department in 1985 and served as Chief until his retirement in August 1992, after 36 years of service.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his devoted sons: James H. Smith, Jr., and his wife Cynthia, Robert F. Smith and his wife Diane and William F. Smith and his wife Cheryl. He was the cherished grandfather of William, Keith, and Jessica, and the great-grandfather of three. He was the brother of the late Kenneth E. Smith.
His funeral services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in his memory may be sent to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN, 38105.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Urquhart-Murphy Funeral Home. www.murphyfuneralhomes.org