Mourners and those paying their respects to former Caswell County Sheriff James Isaac “J.I” Smith, Jr. came out by the hundreds on Sunday when he was laid to rest.
An outside funeral service and burial were conducted for him on Sunday, September 12, 2021 at Concord Christian Church. Citty Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements and the family requested that masks be worn and social distancing be observed during the services.
Smith was born in Caswell County on October 25, 1942 to the late James I. Smith, Sr. and the late Virginia Zimmerman Smith. He lived most of his life in Caswell County and passed away at his home on Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
He was a graduate of Anderson School and lived in Reidsville during his early years of working for the Reidsville Police Department. Eventually he moved back to Caswell County and farmed for a few years. In 1978, Smith was elected Sheriff of Caswell County and served the county in this capacity until his retirement in 2002.
According to the current Caswell County Sheriff, Tony Durden, “J.I. was a professional and constant politician. He was tough but fair, and you always knew where you stood with him. J.I. was from the ‘old school’ of police work; a man’s man so-to-speak. He was well respected and will be missed.”
While Sheriff, Smith served on numerous state and local boards and was the chairman of the NC Sheriffs Training and Standards Commission. He did this for many years. Smith was a charter member of the Cherry Grove Volunteer Fire Department and was a former member of the Cherry Grove Ruritan Club. He loved going to the beach and was passionate about fishing.
He was preceded in death by his son, Mark I. Smith, and his sister, Jane S. McGee. Survivors include: his wife of 38 years, Wanda Potter Smith of the home; daughters Carla S. Watson (Derek) of Reidsville, Betty Smith of Elon, and Cynthia S. Wrenn (Joey) of Elon; brother Rev. Thomas H. Smith (Sarah) of Asheboro, NC; grandchildren Madelyn Watson, Savannah Watson, Laura Steele (Patrick), and Will Wrenn (Brittany); great grandchildren Nolan Steele and Elliott Steele; and, numerous loving nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be sent to: The Mark Smith Scholarship Fund, C/O Concord Christian Church, 4908 Cherry Grove Rd., Elon, NC 27244, or to the Cherry Grove Volunteer Fire Department, 7074 Cherry Grove Rd., Reidsville, NC 27320.