Longtime ABC employee James Smith dies

APOPKA, Fla. — James Smith, who worked at ABC Companies in Florida for nearly 30 years, passed away last month. He was 57.

Starting with ABC in 1989, Smith performed a variety of jobs and in recent years had become a critical member of the company’s parts group.

One operator said Smith had become the “go-to guy when you had a question about anything on a Van Hool motorcoach. Customers trusted him, and ABC’s service staff depended on him.

“He was mostly behind the scenes, but if James was involved, you knew things would work out,” the operator said. “We, and a lot of other operators, depended on him. He was one of the unsung heroes of the industry.”

Smith’s signature greeting was “Howdy Howdy,” and virtually every fellow worker used the phrase “older brother” in describing him.

“James always had a book in his hand – on break, or while waiting for his wife to pick him up in the afternoons,” remembered one friend. “He never stopped learning.”

Smith is survived by his wife, Nora. He was born Aug. 16, 1960, and passed away on Sept. 13.

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