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James "Jim" Smith

James “Smitty” Smith, 81, of Sioux Falls, passed away Sunday, November 14, 2021 at Good Samaritan Village. James Smith, son of Frank Smith and Elizabeth Ellwein, was born July 30, 1940 in Mitchell, SD. He attended grade school in Bridgewater, SD and graduated from Yankton High School in 1958. 

He was united in marriage with Gerri Zweber on June 26th, 1963 in Yankton. They were blessed with 3 children, Michael, Brian and Matthew. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of South Dakota. During his 42 year career he taught instrumental and vocal music at New Underwood, SD, Irene, SD, West Lyon (Inwood, IA) and his last 27 years at O’Gorman High School as Director of Instrumental Music. He was also Master of Ceremonies for the Sioux Falls Municipal Band for 10 years.

At O’Gorman, his marching, concert, and jazz bands won numerous awards in local, regional, and national competitions. He received many awards and honors including: SD Outstanding Band Director Award in 1998: South Dakota High School Activities Association Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and the Phi Beta Mu Distinguished Service Award in 2008. He was also Honorary Grand Marshal of the Festival of Bands Parade in 1999 and 2009. He served as President of the SD Bandmasters Association, President of the SD Chapter of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster Fraternity. He adjudicated many bands throughout the Midwest as well as Arizona and Oklahoma. 

In honor of his career accomplishments, he was selected to the Yankton High School Fine Arts Hall of Fame, O’Gorman High School Hall of Fame, South Dakota Bandmasters Hall of Fame, and recently the Youth in Music Hall of Fame Marching Band competition in Minneapolis, MN

Jim's philosophy was to use band participation as a vehicle to teach the importance of life lessons such as hard work, striving for excellence, cooperation, service, and caring for each other.

Jim is survived by his wife of 58 years: Gerri; children: Michael (Robin Rastani), Sioux Falls, Brian (Joni), Dell Rapids, SD, and Matthew Smith (Katie), Tea, SD; 3 grandchildren: Carson (Brian and Joni), Miles and Grace (Matt and Katie); sister: Mary Beth Ludwig (Eric), Apopka, FL; brother: Thomas Smith (Carol), Sarasota, FL; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by an infant brother, father, mother, and brother Timothy.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools, Jim Smith Band Scholarship.

   Funeral Mass will be 10:30am on Thursday, November 18, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 1600 S. Marion Road, Sioux Falls, SD. Visitation with the family present to greet friends will be at 9:30am at church before Mass and following lunch.

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