Building community: Golfers support for Will County Habitat For Humanity's James V. Smith Memorial Build

Golfers recently partnered with Will County Habitat for Humanity to tee up the organization's memorial build.

About 140 golfers took part in the second annual golf outing, which this year was held in honor of James. V. Smith, an avid supporter of Habitat. The event, held at the Bolingbrook Golf Club on Oct. 9, raised more than $175,000 for the James V. Smith Memorial Build, which will be built in Joliet on land donated by Smith's wife, Jan.

"With every putt and every hole conquered, golfers supported Habitat's mission and created a brighter future for generations to come," said Nicole Murray, executive director of Will County Habitat for Humanity. "Together, as a community, we ensure more families will have a decent place to live."

In the last 30 years, Will County Habitat for Humanity has provided homes for 90 families. The organization relies on community support for financial contributions and in-kind donations of labor, land and materials to build the homes.

Smith was a strong supporter of Will County Habitat for Humanity and donated his services as an appraiser to help further the organization's mission. Smith, who passed away in 2020 due to COVID, was a graduate of Joliet East High School, an enthusiastic member of the Joliet Rotary Club, chaired the Rialto Square Theatre board of directors and served on various boards including the Joliet Historical Museum, City Center Partnership and the Will County Center for Economic Development.

"Jim loved Joliet," his wife, Jan, said.

Though he was active in several organizations, she said her husband preferred to stay out of the spotlight.

"He'd be embarrassed by all this," she said with a smile. "But then he'd have a big smile on his face for the next week."

The outing drew family and friends, some from out of state, who wanted to show their support for Habitat and honor Smith, who they said often attended events like the golf outing to honor others and support charitable groups.

"The fact that Habitat for Humanity is going to build a house in his honor," said Smith's nephew, Scott Smith, who travelled from North Carolina to attend the outing. "It means a lot that his legacy is getting passed on even after he's gone."

Will County Habitat for Humanity expects to break ground on the James V. Smith Memorial Home in the summer of 2024.

For additional information about Will County Habitat for Humanity, visit

Jan Smith joins golfers David Quaas, Thomas Meyer and Kathleen Meyer. Smith donated land in Joliet for the James V. Smith Memorial Build, in honor of her late husband. Courtesy of Will County Habitat for Humanity
Volunteers Corina Salas, Kathleen Martyka and Eric Blackburn helped make the Will County Habitat for Humanity's annual golf outing a success. Golfers helped raise more than $175,000 for the James V. Smith Memorial Build. Courtesy of Will County Habitat for Humanity
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