Jimmy Charles Smedley Sr, of Arkadelphia, AR died peacefully in the House of Three, a private care home in Hot Springs, Arkansas on November 5, 2016. He was born on November 26, 1933 in Natchitoches, LA to Carl and Hattie Smedley. For most of his childhood and teenage years he called Murfreesboro, AR home. There, he met his grade school sweetheart and best friend, Sunshine Dillard, whom he married and remained faithful to for over 61 years. Jim graduated from Henderson State Teachers College in 1956 with a BSE Degree in General Science. Upon graduation he received a regular army commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. Over the next six years, Jim and Sunnie were off on assignments to Ft, Knox, Ky, Ft. Hood Tx, Ft Eustis, Va. Camp Gary, San Marcos, TX and Ft Rucker, Alabama. Jim served in the military as a fixed-wing and rotary wing rated aviator flying the famed Huey Helicopter. He served six years of active duty as a Captain and 26 years in the Arkansas National Guard retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 in 1992. He was a true patriot and proud to wear the uniform in service to this great county.
Upon departing active duty, Jim and Sunnie lived in Little Rock and El Dorado before making the small town of Arkadelphia their home for the next 52 wonderful years. For 22 of those years, he worked for Henderson State University where one of his greatest accomplishments was being instrumental in advancing the Aviation Degree Program. He was a dedicated professor who loved his job and was passionate about his students and their success. He retired from Henderson in January 1995. Arkadelphia could not have been a better place to raise their four boys, Jimmy, Michael, Mark and Scott. Here, they set about teaching their boys to become responsible, caring and God fearing men. They were all members of the Church of Christ where he served as an Elder. Jim was a proud father and took great joy in watching his boys in their many activities. He was an avid sports fan and encouraged and supported his boys in their many sporting events. He always remained positive and was often found cheering from the sidelines at both games and practices. His love for sports was shared with his 4 sons as they often cheered on the Badgers, Reddies and Razorbacks together.
However, nothing could compare with his passion of camping. As they say, the family that camps together, stays together, and the many years of camping at Kirby and Degray certainly helped to deepen the love and bond among the Smedley Family. Many fun hours were spent on the lake in a boat, on a barge or riding the trails on a motorcycle. But the most memorable times were those spent simply sitting around the campfire, come rain or shine. He loved reminiscing, telling stories, joking and listening to the strumming of guitars. His boys were his world and they remember him as a patient but firm father who encouraged them to always do the right thing in life. He encouraged them to explore the great outdoors, to take chances, pursue their goals and have a love of life, family and the Lord.
He is survived by his wife Sunshine Dillard Smedley of Arkadelphia; his four sons Jimmy (Danine), Michael (Kinsey), Mark (Lori) and Scott, nine grandchildren and three great grand- children. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Carl and Hattie Smedley.
Services will be at 1:00 pm Wednesday, November 9th at Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home in Arkadelphia with Dr. Jerry Butler officiating. Burial with military honors will be at Murfreesboro Cemetery in Murfreesboro. Visitation will be 11:30 am Wednesday until service time at the funeral home.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the HSU Foundation, in care of the Jim Smedley/Alpha Eta Rho Fund. Please note the Fund on your check or include a note. HSU, Box 7540, Arkadelphia AR 71999-0001. The family would like to thank the House of Three caregivers, Arkansas Hospice and the Arkansas Hospice – Hot Springs Inpatient Center staff for their caring, compassion, dedication and words of comfort.