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1939 Lawrence 2024

Lawrence George Smith

January 7, 1939 — May 11, 2024

Larry Smith Obituary


Lawrence George Smith (Larry) was born in Chicago on January 7, 1939, to Alex and Arlene Smith.  Larry and his older brother, Bob Smith, tragically lost their mother when Larry was very young.   The boys went to live with relatives and Larry moved in with his Uncle George and Aunt Jeannette.  Eventually, Alex remarried Opalene and they had two more sons, Gary and Don.  The family reunited in their home in Chicago.

Larry attended the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), with an early focus on Industrial Engineering, which later became a lifelong interest in the field of Economics.  While at IIT, he joined the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.  He graduated from IIT and was admitted to the doctoral program of the Economics Department at the University of Chicago, the home of the prestigious Chicago School of Economics where he became a graduate student of George Stigler, the later 1982 Nobel Prize winner.  After attaining a master’s degree in Economics and completing his general PhD program, he took a position on the faculty at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD).   He went on to a lifelong career teaching at Grossmont Community College in San Diego.

During his days at Pi Kappa Phi, he met Ron Douglas.  This would prove meaningful as Ron introduced Larry to his sister Marilyn who would later become his first wife.

Marilyn and Larry were married in Cincinnati Ohio in 1962 shortly after he graduated and then they moved to San Diego, CA to take his faculty job at UCSD.  Larry and Marilyn welcomed their first son Steve in 1964.   In 1967, their second son, Tim, was born.

Larry continued his teaching career while Marilyn raised the two boys and lived in La Mesa California.   They resided there for several years enjoying many family trips to the beach, up the coast to see his brother Bob, and to Belmont Park in San Diego to ride his favorite “Giant Dipper” roller coaster.

Marilyn and  Larry divorced in 1974 and Marilyn took the boys and moved up the coast to Orange County while Larry remained in San Diego at his teaching post at Grossmont.  Larry remarried a couple more times and continued teaching at Grossmont until he retired in the early 2000’s.  For the retirement party,  his family rented a limousine, took him out to dinner at his favorite restaurant Anthony’s, and then it was off to Belmont Park for another “Giant Dipper” ride.   

After retiring from Grossmont College, Larry took on part-time teaching roles at San Diego State,  volunteered at his local church, travelled, attended San Diego Padre baseball games and spent time with his large circle of friends.

Larry converted to Catholicism in 2008.  He then became actively involved at St. Martin of Tours Parish in La Mesa as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister.  Larry’s spirituality was enhanced by his faithful daily practice of centering prayer.   He actively led a weekly group and participated in another.

Eventually, his health diminished and he suffered a series of strokes which rendered him unable to live independently.  Family and friends moved him into a series of assisted living facilities where he eventually passed on May 11, 2024.  He is survived by brothers Bob, Don and Gary, son Steve and his wife Deirdre and grandchildren Justin and Audrey.

Larry lived a full life filled with a close circle of friends and family.  He never gave up his love of roller coasters and I am certain there was one waiting for him after he passed. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to a charity of your choice in Larry’s honor.  

A Celebration of Life service is planned for Wednesday, July 24, 2024, at the Featheringill Mortuary located at 6322 El Cajon Blvd in San Diego.  Service time will be determined at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lawrence George Smith, please visit our flower store.

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