James Rayphard Smithson, 90, a lifelong Castro County resident (and a proud descendant of the real McCoys in Tennessee), passed away October 7, 2020, at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo.
Rayphard was born at home on July 11, 1930, the second of nine children born to Ben and Maude (McCoy) Smithson. He graduated from Dimmitt High School in 1949 and attended West Texas State for two years where he met his future wife, Mary Lu Hofmann. They were married August 13, 1951, and began farming and raising a family.
Irrigation was being developed in the area and they were excited to be a part of the new adventure. They raised chickens, hogs and cattle, had their own eggs, milked cows and churned butter. The 1950s were difficult with severe drought and high winds that caused tumbleweeds to stack up on fences and block the roads at times. The family farm prospered, however, and in 1964, Rayphard was selected as the Texas Outstanding Young Farmer by the Jaycees.
Another of Rayphard’s achievements was starting a Smithson Family Reunion at Lake Proctor in July, 1969. With the nine brothers’ and sisters’ extended families, gatherings could have anywhere from 50 to 90 people attending! All could enjoy not only the visiting and good food, but also boating, fishing, and water skiing. He looked forward to it every year and began planning and preparing in January.
Rayphard retired after 43 years of farming in 1994, and took a position with Sundowner Trailers to pick up horse trailers from the factory and deliver them to dealers all over the United States. He and Mary Lu also bought a fifth wheel RV and began traveling across the country together.
Rayphard was a people person. He loved to meet and spend time with anyone who would ‘visit’ with him. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and served on the Administrative Council, Trustees, PPR Committee, and other boards multiple times. He was also president of the Dimmitt Senior Citizens organization for several years.
Rayphard was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Mary Carol, his parents, three sisters and three brothers.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, and two brothers, Clinton Smithson of Wylie, and Donald Smithson of Bonham; children: Teddy and Vicki Smithson, of Lamesa; Janet and Odell Tuggle, of Meridian; Dean and Benita Smithson, of Lubbock; and Randy and Vicki Smithson of Lubbock; nine grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.
Arrangements are pending due to pandemic requirements and will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to be made in Rayphard’s honor to the Dimmitt Senior Citizen Center, Gideons or a favorite charity.
– Press-Reporter obituary services