J.C. “Jake” Smyth, 81st president, was born Dec. 24, 1904, at Kountze. He received a degree from Decatur Baptist College in 1924 and while there learned the printing trade at the Wise County Messenger.
He graduated from Baylor University in 1928 where his senior year he received the Walden Journalism Scholarship. He also was a Linotypist for The Lariat at Baylor.
When he graduated he became Linotypist for the Lufkin Daily News but soon transferred to news editor. From 1931-40 he was co-publisher of the Scurry County Times. In 1940 he began as co-owner with Price Daniel and editor-manager of the Liberty Vindicator. He also was co-owner and manager of the Anahuac Progress.
He was president of Texas Gulf Coast Press Association in 1951-52 and secretary of West Texas Press Association for five years.
He married Aileen Powell in 1930 and had one daughter.