Laurence A. Smith

Obituary
2 entries
  • "We didn't know "LA" directly, but feel like we knew a bit..."
    - Ronna DeLaVergne
  • "My Uncle Laurie...I haven't seen you for many years, since..."
    - Margaret Allen
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Laurence A. Smith

Feb. 6, 1916 - Aug. 13, 2006

Laurence A. Smith "LA" came from somewhat humble beginnings in Everett. He was raised mostly by his grandparents. Ermine raised chickens, some 200 of them, and sold the eggs. Peter was a lumberlack, working on his own with his "donkey" gleaning left-over timber that the large lumbermills missed. There was always enough food, thanks to the chickens and the garden his grandmother tended, and enough excitement for a small boy, provided bu his robust grandfather. Through example, they taught him independent resourcefulness.
In high school, he and a friend found a sailboat, aground in the Snohomish river. They tracked down the owner, who was more than happy to hand over a deed of sale just to get the thing off his hands. The friends resurrected and restored the boat to it's former beauty, calling it "The Myth", and that was LA's introduction to sailing and the sea, and a great love grew therefrom. They sailed "The Myth" in Port Gardner Bay several years until the two went off to college. A picture of the beloved boat hung in LA's bedroom until his passing.
At the University of Washington, LA took flying lessons. When WWII approached, he got his draft notice and hot footed it down to the Navy Recruiting Office, hoping to get orders onto the sea. The Navy embraced him, but not because of his aptitude for sailing. They wanted him for his flying abilities. He went from Corpis Christi, Texas, as a Cadet, on to Miami, Florida, to learn to fly transports. His assignment was Miami to Rio de Janeiro, not a bad gig at the outset of the war. From Miami, he was transferred to Alameda, California, the home base from which he would fly to Alaska, Hawaii, and to Guam. His was a "good" war because he never had to shoot at anyone, flew supplies to far off bases, and sometimes even got to ferry USO entertainers. He continued on with the Navy after the war, in the Naval Reserves, carrying the designation of Commander and as head of a flight squadron based at Sand Point Naval Station in Seattle, Washington, until 1954.
At the war's end, he had a wife, Adelaide Hayes, and child, and it was time to get a "real" job and get serious. He did both, but he still had fun. He signed on with Everett First National Bank, as a assistant cashier, and quickly rose through their ranks. When Everett First National Bank was purchased by Seattle First National Bank, he was sent to Bellingham, Washington, to run the main branch there. Four years later, he was transferred back to Everett, with the title of Senior Vice President in charge of marketing for the Northwest region, a long way from the humble beginnings on the chicken farm. His banking career spanned 33 years and throughout it he worked tirelessly for the community, as well. He chaired the fund drive for United Good Neighbors of Snohomish County (United Way, today), was treasurer of the Everett Presbyterian Church for many years, served on the Everett Library board, and completed several back to back stints on the board of the Everett General Hospital. His work and his community service went hand in hand, and he made many long-time friends from both.
LA's yen for travel started modestly, with visits to his daughter and grandsons in Scotland. From there, he branched out; to China, to cruises on the Nile, and the Amazon, and even at 85, venturing to Antarctica. He was lucky enough to probe the jungles and savannas of Africa, traveling from one to another in a vintage DC3, the plane that had seen him safely through the war. He visited six of the seven continents before his age and infirmities brought him home for good. He was a sportsman, enjoying golf and fishing and teaching his daughters how to water ski and snow ski. He could always be depended upon to drive a bunch of teenage girls up to the ski slopes on winter weekends, and never seemed to tire of driving the ski boat around Lake Stevens in the summertime, towing one, or a bunch of skiers behind. He was at ease with all levels of society. He could make a run to the Everett City Dump on a Saturday morning and pass the time with the dump caretaker, Ace Evans, then don a tuxedo and dance away the same evening at the Everett Golf and County Club. LA was gregarious, open, uncomplicated, always the gentleman, with just a touch of the rascal thrown in. Just enough to make him interesting and adventurous.
He never lost his love of the sea. While in Bellingham, he purchased another sailboat, "The Seaquester" and his family would enjoy long weekends exploring the beautiful San Juans. In 1996, he moved to Carmel, California, settling into Hacienda Carmel, where he went about gathering still more friends. Although, by this time, he was a bit long in the tooth to own his own boat, he never tired of visiting the wharfs in Monterey and Moss Landing, California, admiring what he could no longer have. And, he loved to sit at Whaler's Cove in Point Lobos and watch the tides. His second wife, Donna Monaghan, and he took several cruises together, exploring Alaska and the Panama Canal in luxury.
LA may have come from humble beginnings, but by the time his life was through, he had rubber elbows with all levels of society, travelled to the ends of the earth, and made a difference in the communities in which he lived and in the lives of the people with whom he came in contact. His ever present smile and cheerfulness could brighten a room or reassure a child with a skinned knee. And, his ability and willingness to give more of himself than he asked in return was legendary.
LA was preceded in death by his wife, Donna.
He is survived by his daughter, Priscilla; son-in-law, Ray, of Yorkshire, England; daughter, Candace, of Carmel Valley, California; grandsons, Ted and Alex, of Edinburgh, Scotland; great-grandson, Harvey, of Edinburgh; and by his four-legged companion, Figaro, his cat.
At his wishes, there will be no formal ceremony, but rather a cremation and scattering at sea. Donations in LA's name may be made to the Salvation Army, the SPCA or the donor's favorite charity.

Published in The Herald (Everett) on Aug. 22, 2006