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James Ray Smith, Jr.

February 16, 1953 April 20, 2024
James Ray Smith, Jr.
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Obituary for James Ray Smith, Jr.

James Ray Smith, Jr., 71, of Merrill, Wisconsin, passed away Saturday, April 20, 2024, at his home.

Jim was born February 16, 1953, in Poteau, Oklahoma, son of James Ray Smith Sr. and Jueline (Autry) Smith. Jim enlisted in the United States Army on July 26, 1971. He was stationed at several Army Bases in Germany, most notably Frankfurt. He was an engineer and built bridges and buildings. Jim was honorably discharged on September 18, 1972. Jim had lived in many states during his adulthood including California, Texas, and Wisconsin. In 2018, he made his way back to Merrill.

Jim was a jack of all trades. He worked for his brother in the roofing business, and he worked for a time with a septic company. Jim enjoyed mechanical work and loved working on cars; he could fix almost any car. Jim also enjoyed tinkering with lawnmowers. In his younger years, he loved shooting pool, especially with his sons.

Survivors include his children, Deborah Dew of North Carolina, Joshua Smith of Merrill, and John Smith of Wausau; grandchildren, Brandyn Scott and Ciara Haas; siblings, Sherry Holgate of Baker City, Oregon, Mike Smith of Gardnerville, Nevada, and Terry Holgate of Waterford, California; and many nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his father, James Ray Smith, Sr.; mother and stepfather, Jueline and Gilbert Porter; and brother, Tim Smith.

A celebration of Jim’s life will take place at a later date.

Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Merrill, is assisting the family. Online condolences may be made at

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