R. James Smathers

R. James Smathers, age 89, of Clarion passed away on December 16, 2020.

Born in Sligo, PA, on December 30, 1930, he was the son of William B. and Lulabelle (Allilo) Smathers. He spent his early life in Sligo, PA. When he moved to Clarion in 1943, he joined Troop Number 52 and was one of the Troop 52’s first Eagle Scouts. Ernie O’Hara and John Lewis were the assistant scout leaders.

Mr. Smathers graduated from Clarion Area schools in 1949 and worked at the Modern Store. He served in the United States Air Force from 1951 until 1955. He attended Clarion State Teachers college graduating in 1957. While attending college, he worked part-time at the L&R store in Clarion and at Rhea Wholesale.

While Mr. Smathers was in the US Air Force, he spent twelve months in Thule, Greenland. On the way to Thule, he crossed the Arctic Circle and became an honorary member of the Blue Nose Society. On his way to Greenland, his squadron stopped over at Goose Bay, Newfoundland, and saw Captain Avery Miller of Strattanville.

Mr. Smathers became an insurance agent in 1957 working for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. In 1962, he started his own insurance agency, Smathers Insurance. Mr. Smathers earned his Chartered Life Underwriter Designation in 1966, the first CLU in Clarion County. He also obtained his real estate salesman license and later his real estate broker’s license. He then opened Smathers Real Estate in 1976. Mr. Smathers was also the first person in Clarion County to earn the Retirement Income Certified Professional Designation (RICP). He was a former member of the Clarion Rotary Club. He served as president and director on many boards including the Clarion Jefferson Life Underwriters, the Allegheny Valley Board of Realtors, the Clarion County Planning Commission and the Clarion Cemetery Association. He was the president of the Clarion Bobcats Wrestling Boosters Club.

He was a member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Clarion.

Mr. Smathers was married to his first wife Esther T. Helmheckel in 1951 in Brookville, PA. Esther passed away on June 12, 2007. He then married Doris Jean Eshbaugh Colwell in 2008.

Along with his wife, Doris Jean, he is survived by all of his six children: Christine Bryan and husband Timothy of Westminster, Colorado, William “Bill” and wife Beth of Clarion, Marlene Brandt and husband Paul of Farmville, Virginia, Lenore Smathers of Clarion, Gregory “Greg” and wife Brenda of Clarion and Rhonda McMahan of Massillon, Ohio.

Jim was the proud grandfather of 13 grandchildren: Alisha Peterson and husband Scott of Westminster, Colorado, Andrew Bryan of Thornton, Colorado, Kerry Whitmoyer and husband Kurt of Spotsylvania, Virginia, Kristen Smathers of Clarion, Megan Morris and husband Eric of Midland, North Carolina, Molly Smathers of Chambersburg, PA, Brian J. Whren and wife Meagan of Clarion, Cody Racchini and wife Ashley of Ducansville, PA, Steven Smathers of Pittsburgh, Jimmy Smathers of Clarion, Riley McMahan, Cassidy McMahan and Shane McMahan of Massillon, Ohio.

He was also the great grandfather to 13: Jordan Fisher, Grayson, and Alexis Peterson of Colorado, Kelton and Keefer Whitmoyer of Virginia, Emma, Ivey and Macie Morris of North Carolina, Bailey, Drew, Cole and Eliza Jane Whren of Clarion and Rocco Racchini of Duncansville.

He is also survived by a sister, Kay Neely and her husband, Blake of Knox.

In addition to his first wife, he was preceded in death by parents; a brother, Jack Smathers; a sister, Joanne Hultquist; and an infant sister, Delores.

Friends and family will be received on Monday, December 21, 2020, from 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm at the Goble Funeral Home, 330 Wood St. Clarion, Pa 16214. A Christian Wake Service will be held at 2:00pm on Monday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00am on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at Immaculate Conception Church in Clarion with Father Monty Sayers presiding. Interment to follow at Immaculate Conception Cemetery.

The funeral home will have social distancing protocols in place and strongly recommends those who are attending to wear masks. We respectfully ask if you feel sick or have other health conditions to stay home. Due to the new orders of Gov. Wolf, we will be limiting the number of people in the funeral home to 10 at a time.

Memorial donations can be made to the Clarion Cemetery Association at 1300 East Main Street, Clarion, Pa 16214, Attn. Myrna Eshbaugh.

Friends and family may send online condolences, order flowers and memorials, and obtain additional information by visiting www.goblefh.net.


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