I recently attended the funeral for the man who inspired me to pursue a profession in nursing home management. Jim Smith was a wiry man with a quick wit and a blazing intellect. The visions he possessed for nursing homes were decades ahead of their time.
Like all of us he had his dark sides, but it was his dazzling brilliance that had a hypnotic effect on me. Years later I was able to enhance his visions and apply them with financial and managerial acumen.
At the conclusion of the funeral services, the Smith family played a video of Jim answering questions posed by one of his sons. It was moving to hear his voice. He talked of serious subjects, yet ended each thought with a funny quip. Jim was a most amazing man and played an important role in my own life, and I’m sure, in many others’.
Jim sadly never received the recognition he deserved. At the time he was thought of as an eccentric, with romanticized notions of elder empowerment and rights. I attempted to rectify this injustice at Piñon’s 25th anniversary party in the fall of 2004. David Stang and I gave Jim a plaque and commemorated the prescient awareness he had on the long-term care profession.
He was a man that I will never forget.