"The district, the county and this life have lost a giant," says Lubeck Public Service District Attorney Richard Hayhurst.
While Hayhurst knew Jim Smith because of his 27 years as a member of District's Board of Commissioners, he knew him for more than that.
"He was a solid, dedicated professional employee of the DuPont company for almost 40 years," said Hayhurst. "He gave selflessly of his talents to the Lubeck Public Service District. He was a loving, devoted family man, and friend."
Beginning with his years as a resident in South Carolina, he was involved with a number of service organizations, including the boy scouts. As a member of the First Lutheran Church, he was instrumental in the hiring of the church's current pastor.
"Jim believed in civic duty, and would encourage others to do so," says Pastor Jim Kinsler. "He was involved in his church and his community, not only through the Public Service District, but also in the county looking at disabled buildings. He was on the Mountwood Board at one time. He believed in contributing."
Attorney Hayhurst says Smith's passing should not affect the pending Lubeck Rate Increase, which now is being considered by the West Virginia Public Service Commission. It will be up to the Wood County Commission to choose his successor on the water board.
"This community will have his example to follow," says Pastor Kinsler, "and I hope people will follow in his shadow, and it's a big, big shadow."
William Argabrite is one of the Lubeck residents opposing the water rate hike. He says Smith's death will not affect plans to seek the removal of Smith and fellow board member "Ox" Johnson on an issue related to the proposed increase.