EAST HARTFORD – Father James H. Smith, 75, entered into eternal life on Aug. 27, 2014, at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford after a brief illness.
He was born in Hartford on Sept. 10, 1938, the son of the late Harold James and Rose Marie (Proccacino) Smith. He attended St. Augustine School in Hartford and attended high school and minor seminary at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. He went on to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and finished his studies at the North American College in Rome.
He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 18, 1963, at the Church of Cristo Re in Rome. He remained in Rome for several months, studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University, from which he earned a licentiate in sacred theology.
He assisted at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford and at St. Rita Parish in Hamden from 1964 to 1968, when he was assigned as assistant chaplain at the Chapel of St. Thomas More at Yale University in New Haven. He was later an assistant pastor at St. Peter Parish in Torrington from 1971-73 and co-pastor at St. Mary Parish in East Hartford beginning in 1973.
He was assigned as director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1978. He became co-pastor of St. Francis Parish in New Haven in 1983, and then was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in New Haven in 1989. He was named priest-chaplain at New Britain General and New Britain Memorial Hospital in 1990.He then served as pastor at All Saints Parish in New Britain and St. Mary Parish in Derby. He also assisted at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in East Hartford, Assumption Parish in Woodbridge and St. Anthony Parish in Bristol. After ministering as a priest-chaplain at Maloney Correctional Training Center in Cheshire, he was appointed pastor of Holy Rosary and St. Anthony parishes in Ansonia, from which he retired in 2006. After retirement, he worked very closely with the diaconate community in the Diocese of Camden, N.J.
Father Smith is survived by his two sisters, Dolores Butka of West Hartford and Barbara S. Casey of East Hartford. He also leaves many nieces, nephews and fraternal priests. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, Elaine Tracey of West Hartford.
Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Va., was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial, with Archbishop Leonard Blair presiding, at St. Christopher Church in East Hartford on Sept. 2. Burial was in Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield.
Memorial contributions in Father Smith’s memory may be made to St. Christopher Church, 538 Brewer St., East Hartford, CT 06118.