James “Huck” Perry Smith, 87, of Joplin, passed away Friday, February 19, 2021.
Jim was born August 15, 1933 in Southwest City, Missouri to the union of the late Eual and Marie (Perry) Smith – his heritage coming from a long line of prominent Cherokee ancestors. Jim graduated from Southwest City High School and he then furthered his education by attending Oklahoma State University and the University of Arkansas, where he earned his Master’s Degree in Animal Science and Genetics. He taught Animal Husbandry at OSU and served as the OSU Horse Herdsman. Jim was also the Secretary of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association. He then taught Vocational Agriculture at McDonald County High School for 24 years. Jim retired from EaglePicher Technologies in 1998.
Jim was a member of the Missouri Cowboy Poetry Association, where he participated in many readings and presentations. He was also a member of the Missouri Wood Carver’s Association, a hobby he very much enjoyed. Jim was a man of faith and attended College Heights Christian Church and Christ’s Community United Methodist Church. He loved God and was a member of Partners in Prayer, Ft. Worth, Texas. Jim loved his family, served his country, and was always proud to be a part of the Cherokee tribe.
His involvement in celebrating his Cherokee heritage was vast, including his participation as a Gourd Dancer at many regional powwows. He was an active member of the Cherokee Nation and Northern Cherokee White River Band as well. In 1955, Jim was united in marriage to Molly Smith, and together they shared nearly 70 years of marriage. He and Molly believed in the power of ministry and traveled across the nation performing the Lord’s Prayer in their cherished Cherokee language and regalia. Jim also volunteered to support those recovering in AA and always believed in the greater good of people. His heart was loving, caring, giving, and genuine. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by two infant sons, Scott Lee and Timothy Wade; and all of his siblings.
He is lovingly survived by his wife, Molly; two children, Dusty Smith (Terri) of Owasso, Oklahoma, and Becky Cupp of Kansas City, Missouri; six grandchildren, Dalton, Preston, Chandler, Logan (Sara), Jarrod, and Elise; several nieces and nephews; as well as a host of extended family and dear friends.
The family will receive friends for visitation from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at Parker mortuary. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at Parker Mortuary in Joplin with Tom Freeman officiating. Burial will follow at Southwest City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Samaritan’s Purse in care of the mortuary. Arrangements are under the personal care and direction of Parker Mortuary, Joplin, Missouri.