James Webster Smith Jr., 81, of Natchitoches departed this life Thursday, Oct. 22, after an extended illness. He retired in January of 2015 after serving as Manager and Vice-President of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home for 58 years. Visitation will be held at Blanchard-St. Denis on Sunday, Oct. 25, from 5-9 p.m., with a Rosary at 6:30 p.m. Funeral services will be Monday, Oct. 26, at 10 a.m. at Blanchard-St. Denis with burial following at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches. He was born Dec. 11, 1938 to James W. Smith Sr. and Florentine Spillman Smith in Cloutierville. He graduated from high school in 1957. He was employed by Blanchard Funeral Home that year where he served his apprenticeship and received his Funeral Director’s license in 1962. Mr. Smith was very engaged in professional activities for many years and was named Funeral Director of the Year by the North Louisiana Funeral Directors’ Association in 1981-81 and again in1988. He was also a past President of the organization and served on various committees. He held membership in several professional organizations including the National Funeral Directors’ Association. He was highly respected and had many friends throughout the area. He was well known throughout the community and was admired for his generous heart and his willingness to help those in need. At an early age he developed a passion for Country Music and loved to play the fiddle. He placed second in the State Fiddling Contest in 1976. He was often called on to play at local nursing homes and for charitable events. Mr. Smith was active in civic organizations including the Golden Rule Lodge, Loyal Order of the Moose, Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus Council 1957 and he was on the Grievance Committee for the City of Natchitoches Police Department. He and Charles Mitchell Dalme founded the Tuesday Night Bourre’ Players Group more than 50 years ago. He was a member of the Immaculate Conception Church. His hobbies other than music included playing cards and cooking. As long as he was able, he repaired many lawnmowers for friends and family and never charged anyone. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Callie Faye Owens Smith; one daughter Janet Marie Smith Guidry of Natchitoches; one grandson, Byron J. Guidry Jr. of Covington; two sisters, Glenda Marie Merrill of Cloutierville and Patricia Nell Carter and husband Tommy of Shreveport; one brother, Roger Dale Smith and wife Nancy of Shreveport; and numerous nieces and nephews. Also Eleanor Ann Young Cooks and husband Corbin of Houston and Lori O’Bannon Savell and husband Kelby of Bellwood. He looked upon these two ladies as daughters. Also surviving is his special fur baby, Sallie Mae. Other than his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, David Earl Smith of Natchitoches. They worked together at the funeral home for many years. Pallbearers will be Dennis Brossette, Terry Brossette, Timmy Carter, Tommy Carter, Byron J. Guidry Jr. and Leslie Wayne Bennett. Honorary Pallbearers will be members of the Monday Night Bourre’ Players group. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the American Kidney Association or St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis.