To the Editor: Smithey was great role model for students


With the recent passing of James C. Smithey, there is a void not only in his family, but also in the
hearts and minds of what must be thousands of former students.
He started his career at Haskins, when I was 10 years old. And even at that age it was apparent to me
that he loved kids of all ages.
It didn’t take long for him to gain the respect and admiration of students and teachers alike. No problem
was too big or too small for him to listen to. One minute he was your teacher or coach, and the next he
was your big brother. We will all miss his sense of fair play and great sense of humor. He would not
tolerate a bully. When he caught one in the act, his punishment was swift and just. He
"paddled" a few students in his day, but it wasn’t anything he enjoyed. I know from first-hand
experience that you always had it coming.
As an athletic coach he was among the very best. The first year of the Otsego consolidation, he took the
players of three rival schools and turned them into a championship team. He coached many students to
state and regional levels in track and field and I’m sure he was very proud of his grandson who is
currently winning many track and field awards.
This world is going to be a lesser place without you, and I speak for the Otsego Class of 1963 when I say
thank you for all you did for us and we’ll always remember you.
Thomas German
Bowling Green

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