James J. SmudaOctober 5, 1933 ~ October 8, 2017 (age 84)
James J. Smuda, 84, of South Bend, IN passed away peacefully at 8:00 a.m. Sunday, October 8, 2017 in his residence.
He was born in South Bend, IN on October 5, 1933 at home on Jackson Street, the only child of Edward and Agnes (Zyski) Smuda.
On September 29th 1956 he married his wife Patricia Bourdon in Holy Family Catholic church. She preceded him in death on December 22, 2009.
James is survived by their seven children, Janet Krouse of Mishawaka, IN; Mary Sexton of Mishawaka, IN; Doris (Chuck) Housand of South Bend, IN; Carol Smuda of Buchanan, MI; Donna (Dave) Fredericks of South Bend, IN; Carl (Michelle) Smuda of Gardnerville, NV; and John (Melissa) Smuda of Midlothian, VA; 15 grandchildren, Nathaniel Krouse, Adam Skarbek, Vincent Fredericks, Hannah Fredericks, Veronica Smuda, Elizabeth (Joey) Messer, Robin Smuda, Charlotte Smuda, Jacob Smuda, Sarah Housand, Zachary Smuda, Emily Smuda, Ann Marie Hansen, Haley Smuda, and Nathan Smuda; and three great-grandchildren, Elizabeth Shelton, Calvin Ganoe, Jr., and Sylar Trotter.
Jim loved God first, then his wife Pat, his family, our flag and our Country. He loved his dog Snuggles and Snuggles idolized him.
He grew up in South Bend, attended St. Adalbert’s Grade School and graduated from St. Joseph High school in Manistee, Michigan in 1952, where his family lived from1948-1952. Jim loved Manistee, Michigan and visited there as often as he could. In high school they called him Gus. He worked on the Eisenhower election that year. Later he was a major Bush supporter.
In June of 1956 was drafted to the Army and served for two years active duty. He spent 19 months in Germany. In June of 1958 he was released. He continued to serve in the active reserve for two more years, and then was in the reserves for another two. He served as a Teletype Operator for the Counter Intelligence Corp. He liked to tell the story of the time he had to guard a Russian spy for two weeks, to keep him from committing suicide.
When serving in Europe he and his wife were able to see Johnny Ray, Jane Mansfield and part of Glen Miller band. They loved the music of the 40’s, 50’s big band music, and classical. On Sunday evenings you could usually find him listening to Brother Pedro on the Notre Dame F.M. Radio Station. Elvis Presley was to have taken basic training with Jim at Ft. Leonard Wood, but got differed so he could make the movie “Love Me Tender”. Jim couldn’t have cared less because it was the worst three months of his life. As the saying went: “Write to the boys in Korea, but pray for the boys in Ft. Leonard Wood.” He was discharged from the reserves in 1962
September 20, 1958 he went to work for the U. S. Postal service as a Clerk for 31 years. He often delivered registered mail to the train. The postal service issued him a 38 revolver and he carried 5 bullets to protect himself and the mail. They used to say “There goes Barney Fife”.
Their first child was born nearly a year later with six more children to follow. He was very proud of all of their children and what they accomplished. He retired Jan. 20, 1989 the same day President Reagan left his position as President. He then went to work at Notre Dame in their mailroom for 9 months. He later worked for Teachers Credit union for 7 years as security in the parking lot.
To Jim there was nothing better than having grandchildren. He enjoyed going to his daughter Donna’s house to see Hannah the Banana and Vinnie his grandchildren. He taught them to do the military salute as a greeting. He lovingly called his granddaughter Elizabeth by the nickname”Snicklefritz”. He often took her and his granddaughter Veronica to the nursing home to visit grandma, the Dollar Store, and Burger King. When going to Doris’s house, his grandson Adam always asked about his grandma and wanted to visit her.
He was a member and usher at St Adalbert’s Parish and later a member of St. John the Baptist Parish; American Legion Post 50; and the American Postal Workers Union.
Jim loved to swim and spend time with his grandchildren who lovingly called him Dzia-Dzia. He liked to watch the news, the History Channel, Notre Dame Football and basketball, and especially I. U. basketball because Bobby Knight was his hero. He loved anything that had to do with the war in Europe. He read many books, and saw many movies about the war. His favorite movie was “the Band of Brothers.” He got stopped twice in his lifetime by the police for going too slow.
Friends and family may visit from 3-8 pm Friday, October 13, 2017 at the Kaniewski Funeral home, 3545 North Bendix Drive, South Bend, IN, where a Parish Rosary will be prayed at 4:00 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, October 14, 2017 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery, where Military Honors will be held.
Memorial contributions may be made to: St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 3526 St. Johns Way, South Bend, IN 46628.
To send online condolences, please visit www.kaniewski.com.