James Michael Smaha

SARATOGA, Calif. – Jim passed away peacefully at his home in Saratoga after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was born in Lawrence, Mass., and grew up in Portland, Maine, the fourth of five children. He is survived by two brothers, Gerald of Portland, William of Key West, Fla., and his sister-in-law Jean McPherson of Cumberland, Maine. Jim leaves behind many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews, mostly residing on the East Coast. His wife Judith of almost 45 years passed away July 2000 after an 18-month fight with colon cancer. Together they have two children, Julia Lee Gouldsberry, husband Mark Gouldsberry, of Los Gatos, Calif. , and Dr. John Smaha DDS, wife, Renee Smaha, of San Jose, Calif., plus five grandchildren, Adam, Brian, Jake, Mia, and Sydnee. Jim grew up raising his family with Judith by his side, and grew old with his second love, Margit Chapman of Saratoga, Calif., for the last 19 years. They enjoyed a vibrant social life filled with travel, family and friends, and a shared love for sports.He was very active in high school sports. He graduated from the University of Maine, at Orono, with a bachelor’s degree and honors in mathematics. After graduating from college, he served two years as an Officer on active duty in The Army Air Defense Command, also attending The Army Air Defense Missile School in Fort Bliss, Texas.Upon discharge from the Army, he had the good fortune of starting a 30 plus year career in the semiconductor industry. The journey started at Raytheon Semiconductor, Lewiston, Maine. He was the Supervising Quality Control Engineer for the Materials area, then Supervising Engineer, Quality Assurance for Test and Finish. He moved on to Fairchild Semiconductor in Portland, Maine, in the Digital Products Division, and moved up to General Manager & Plant Manager of the Digital Products Division where he tripled business and market share. The next step moved him to Mountain View, Calif., where he became Fairchild’s General Manager of the Linear Products Division, turning profits from worst to best in the company.Jim accepted a job at National Semiconductor Corporation in 1974 where he was named Director of the Digital Products Group, which excelled under his leadership. He moved up to become VP/General Manager of the Logic Products Group, and more success for the company. Finally, he was named President and Executive VP of The Semiconductor Group, responsible for all semiconductor activities worldwide, including acquisitions such as Fairchild, active in the founding of Sematech, SRC & MCC to enhance the semiconductor industry’s competitiveness. He ran that Semiconductor Group, in excess of $2.5 billion dollars. He retired in 1989, to pursue his passions of traveling with Judith, experiencing the growth of his extended family, establishing family traditions, and living life to the fullest. He remained active through Boards (S-3, SiRF Technologies, Ikanos Communications Inc, etc.) and selectively consulting, primarily with local Venture companies. When he lost Judith, he became actively involved in cancer initiatives such as the Colon Cancer Free Zone initiative. His tireless dedication, dogmatic approach in this arena resulted in immeasurable lives saved from colon cancer.He lived a truly extraordinary life, humble, selfless and tireless dedication to enriching those around him. He will be forever loved, cherished, and missed beyond words. He can now rest peacefully with his beloved family that passed before him. He will be laid to rest next to Judith at a private ceremony at Madronia Cemetery, with a Celebration of Life to follow at a later date. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the family must limit the number of private invites. We ask in lieu of flowers that donations go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Gastric Cancer Foundation, or The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Jimmy Fund.

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