Jesuit Father James F. Smith died on Sept. 7, 2016. He was 86 years old. Fr. Smith was born in Syracuse, New York, on April 26, 1930. He was the son of Frederick and Katherine (Gorman) Smith. He attended Le Moyne College in Syracuse from 1947 to 1949, when he entered the Jesuits at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York.
From 1955-1956, he taught math at Canisius High School in Buffalo and then studied math at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He began theology at Woodstock College in Maryland in 1959 and was ordained on June 20, 1962, at Canisius College. He pronounced his final vows on Aug. 15, 1966.
In 1964, Fr. Smith began his career at Le Moyne College in Syracuse for over 40 years. He taught math until 1970 and again from 1971-1975. (He had a brief sabbatical in Eugene, Oregon, from 1970-1971.) From 1976-1977 he was vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. He became vice president of the college and continued as dean of faculty through 1979. He then taught math at John Carroll University for one year and returned to Le Moyne College in 1980.
After a sabbatical at the University of Kentucky and Xavier University in Cincinnati from 1982-1983, Fr. Smith resumed teaching math and computer science at Le Moyne from 1983-1990. After a sabbatical at McQuaid Jesuit High School, he resumed teaching computer science at Le Moyne from 1991-1992.
In 1992 he became minister and community treasurer at St. Andrew Hall. He returned to Le Moyne in 1997 and served as minister, retreat minister, spiritual director, community treasurer and guest master until 2005.
In 2005, the board of trustees conferred on Fr. Smith a bachelor’s degree. As one Le Moyne College Jesuit recently remarked, Fr. Smith would joke that it took him 58 years to earn his degree from Le Moyne. That same year, Fr. Smith became associate pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in New York City and from 2007-2008 was assistant to the rector and spiritual director of Ciszek Hall in the Bronx.
In 2008, he returned to Syracuse as a pastoral minister. In 2013, he was missioned to pray for the Church and the Society at Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx until his death.