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Jay Hamilton Smith
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Obituary for Jay Hamilton Smith

Dr. Jay Hamilton Smith, age 90, long time resident of Kimberly, Idaho, passed away Sunday, April 29, 2018 in South Jordan, Utah. He was an exemplary scientist, dedicated to his church, avid civic volunteer, and devoted husband and father. Jay was born June 5, 1927, in Rexburg, Idaho to Edwin O. and Elda Harriet Hamilton Smith, and grew up in the Sugar City, Idaho area. Active in scouting as a young man, he earned the Eagle Scout award. Jay attended Ricks College before serving a mission for the LDS Church to the Central States Mission. Returning home, he married his sweetheart, Kirma Johnson, in the Idaho Falls LDS temple on August 10, 1949. From there Jay continued his education at Brigham Young University, Utah State University, and finally Cornell University where he earned a PhD in Agronomy, with a minor in Organic Chemistry and Bacteriology.

Jay's professional career spanned more than 30 years as a research scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He started at Clemson, South Carolina, moved his young family to Beltsville, Maryland, and then moved back West to spend 23 years at the soil research station at Kimberly, Idaho, beginning in 1965. Trained at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dr. Smith used radioisotopes to measure nutrient uptake in plants, measured the effectiveness of using potato processing waste water to irrigate crops, and researched the effectiveness of various types of fertilizers. He was the author and co-author of more than 100 periodical and journal articles and was recognized as a leading expert in his field. After retiring from the USDA in 1987, Jay continued to do consulting work including a trip to Indonesia to train scientists on agricultural research methods.

Jay was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many local and area callings over the years. Jay was a leader of young men in the Scouting program, and he later served on the High Council for the Twin Falls and Kimberly Stakes where he oversaw building construction and maintenance. He also served as Regional Welfare Representative for five years. But he was always conscientious in serving locally, including visiting widows of the Kimberly ward regularly, working on welfare farm assignments, teaching classes, and singing in the choir.

Active in the community, Jay was elected to the Kimberly School Board in 1976 and served until 1982, the last four years being chairman of the board. He also served on the board of directors of the local Federal Employees Credit Union for many years, and eventually served on the Idaho Corporate Credit Union board. Jay also served on the Kimberly Chamber of Commerce and the Twin Falls Airport Advisory Board.

Jay was an avid amateur radio operator (HAM) most of his life. Besides personal enjoyment, this hobby allowed him to provide essential communications services for a number of emergencies over the years, including the Nicaraguan earthquake of 1972 and the Eastern Idaho Teton Dam flood in 1976. He was proud to be a member of the ARRL DX "Century Club," which means he had contacted radio operators in over 100 countries. After retirement, Jay fulfilled a dream he started as a college student to earn his private pilot's license, and subsequently restored and flew a 1946 Ercoupe. He spent many hours flying for fun, giving rides to friends and grandkids and going to fly-in conventions. Jay also had a strong singing voice and sang for several years in the Magic Valley Chorale.

Though busy with outside responsibilities, raising a family of five children was always a priority for Jay and Kirma. Jay was very proud of the fact that all of his children graduated from college. His example and financial support played a major part in that!

Jay is survived by his wife of 68 years Kirma Johnson Smith, children Allen (Rosanne) Smith, Randall (Nancy) Smith, Elena (James) Harvey, Anita (Greg) Gardner, and Robert (Karen) Smith. Jay has been blessed so far with 22 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 5 at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS church at 8176 S 5140 W, West Jordan, UT with a viewing held prior at 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. A viewing will also be held on Friday, May 4 at the Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary, 1007 W. South Jordan Parkway, South Jordan, UT from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Interment will take place at Elysian Burial Gardens, 1075 East 4580 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84117, directly following the funeral service.


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Previous Events

Viewing

Friday

4

May

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Jenkins-Soffe Funeral Home - South Jordan

1007 W South Jordan Parkway
South Jordan, UT 84095

Viewing

Saturday

5

May

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
LDS Church

8176 South 5140 West
West Jordan, Utah 84084

Service

Saturday

5

May

11:00 AM
LDS Church

8176 South 5140 West
West Jordan, Utah 84084

Cemetery Details

Location

Elysian Burial Gardens

1075 East 4580 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84117

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