James Calvin Smith
1926 – 2014
James Calvin Smith, 87, is now resting peacefully in the hands of the Lord. James died on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at the Golden Living Center in Bakersfield with Maxine, his wife of 66 years, by his side.
James was born in Paden, Okla., on Aug. 28, 1926, to Calvin Andrew and Mary Elizabeth Smith. The Smith family came to California in 1942. They dug potatoes and picked cotton in the Edison area, east of Bakersfield. Later that year, they moved to Tehachapi.
On Dec. 14, 1944, James went into the United States Army and was sent to the Asiatic Pacific Campaign as a heavy truck driver. He was honorably discharged on July 21, 1946. He met Maxine Williams in 1946, and they married in 1948.
Monolith Cement Plant was James' place of employment for 18 years, where he worked as a welder and a heavy equipment operator. He left Monolith and bought the Union 76 Station on the corner of Green Street and Tehachapi Boulevard. James was known for hiring high school boys and giving them a chance to work. He was fair but expected the guys to take pride in their job.
He sold the "76" Station and leased the Chevron Station on Mill Street and went into partnership with his son, Jimmy. They gave up the lease on the Chevron Station in 1987.
James and Maxine loved to travel after he retired; and they traveled throughout the Western United States, Canada, Mexico, and Alaska. He was very social and made friends everywhere he went.
The thing James loved to spend his time doing, above all else, was playing music. He was probably the best mandolin player in the state of California. He taught himself to play, and his style was very unique. No one could ever play the way he did.
James was preceded in death by his brother, Paul; oldest son, James Andrew Smith; and grandson, Jason Smith. He is survived by his wife, Maxine Smith; son, David Smith and his wife, Karen of Glendive, Mont.; four grandchildren, Shawn Smith of Bakersfield, Lucas Smith and his wife, Robin of Glendive, Mont.; Brandie Uecker and her husband, Clint of Billings, Mont.; and Kaleb Smith of Glendive, Mont.; seven great-grandchildren, Riata, Emilee, Bowen, Austin, Hunter, BriaBelle, and Madison. Also left to mourn his passing are his sister, Calleen Wonacutt, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to especially acknowledge his nephew, Dennis Smith and his wife, Kandi, for all their love, devotion, time, and the care they have provided their Uncle James and Aunt Maxine.
The funeral service was held on Thursday, April 3, 2014, at 10:30 a.m., at the First Baptist Church. Interment followed at 12 p.m., at Tehachapi Public Cemetery - Eastside. Funeral arrangements were made with the assistance of Wood Family Funeral Service. For condolences please visit woodmortuary.net.