Bill J. Dukes Award
Jimmy Smith wanted to be a teacher, but life, he said, had a different plan. After serving in the United States Navy, Smith used the G.I. Bill to earn a college education.
When the Giles County, Tenn., native came south to visit Calhoun Community College, he was told it would be more worthwhile to learn a trade instead.
He said he thought the advice was wise and he should have a job that he could fall back on if teaching didn’t work out. After being told his first choice, refrigeration, had a long waiting period and stiff competition, he opted for watchmaking. That was 1955. Today, his store, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, is 41 years old and one of the most enduring names in the business.
After working ten years at Diamond Jewelers in Decatur, first as a watch repairman and then as the store’s manager, Jimmy Smith started his own business in 1973.
The noted work ethic, commitment to service, and generosity of Jimmy Smith Jewelers has solidified its place in the history of Decatur and in the heart of its citizens. Proof of his many gifts to the community can be found in the framed certificates lining the wall of his office. He is a former chairman of the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, a charter member and Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club of Decatur Daybreak, a founding board member of the Celebration Arena in Priceville, a Melvin Jones Fellow with the Decatur Lions Club, a founding member of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a past member of the Decatur Jaycees.
Jimmy Smith also was involved in multiple professional organizations. He is also a past president of both the Alabama Jewelers Association and Alabama Retail Association and a former director of the American Gem Society.
–Source: The Decatur Daily