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Larry York Smith

April 2, 1929 July 5, 2015
Larry York Smith
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Obituary for Larry York Smith
Larry York Smith April 2, 1929 – July 5, 2015 Surrounded by family at his home in Brookings, Larry York Smith, 86, passed away on July 5, 2015. Larry York Smith was born April 2, 1929 on the Philippine Island of Mindanao. Larry was the second of six children, born to William McCrary Smith and Cordelia Smith. His middle name York came from his Dad’s good friend Sgt. Alvin Cullum York, one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I. When WWII broke out Larry’s family had to flee their home, farm, and businesses. He and his two brothers joined the Philippine guerillas, fighting under the command of Colonel Wendell Fertig (one of three founding fathers of the US Special Forces) with US Troops against the Japanese forces. Larry left the islands in 1945 to find his Dad who was seeking medical treatment in the US before World War II, and was stranded. Larry found that his Dad had passed away in California and took up residence in Los Angeles with retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice John Wilson. At age 21 Larry married an attractive blonde that caught his eye, Lucille Stadelwiser, on May 13, 1950. Larry and Lucille were married for 33 years until her passing in San Jose in 1982. They had three children. As a military family they lived in Naples, Italy; El Paso and San Antonio, Texas; and Fort Ord and San Jose, California. Like many of his generation, military service was his first career. His first three years were served with the Air Force, and he retired from the US Army after an additional 17+ years. He fought in three wars: World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In Korea he was in the Army Corps of Engineers fighting and building support infrastructure for the Marines to get to the frontline. He was stationed in Vietnam to train and operate Hawk Missile batteries. After his military service he built on his knowledge of electronics from Hawk Missile systems and gained employment within the electronics industry in the Silicon Valley and soon after taught himself to be a claims adjuster. He was hired by Kemper / Reliance and worked there long enough to retire from his second career, always making his way to the top with hard work and by treating people fairly. However, his true entrepreneurial spirit was always evident in his side businesses. Even while in the Army he setup a small shop at his house to fix TV’s and radios. This continued through his life with everything from pizza ovens at pubs to Amway. He was fortunate to meet and marry the warm-hearted Darlene Clites in 1983, and added her two daughters to the family. They left San Jose in 1995 to retire here in Brookings, Oregon. The couple used this newly found time to travel the United States in an RV with 2 cats and a dog. They were happily married 14 years until her passing. Larry was involved with Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA Chapter 757), Veterans of Foreign Wars, Masons, NRA, Wounded Warriors and Elks Lodge 1934. He volunteered with Coastal Home Health and Hospice helping people go through what he just went through. He traveled to churches in the outback of Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii to offer handyman services. He was on call with the Salvation Army, to assist during emergencies. He was a volunteer for the Brookings Marine Corps League Color Guard, offering service like they have offered to his family, for a proper sendoff for our service men and women. Even with the marital, career, and volunteer commitments he still had time to take trips with his daughter to the Philippines and Hawaii, take a weeklong tour of Lake Powell on a houseboat with four generations aboard (Great-Grandpa, Daughter, Grandson, 3 great-grandkids), late night fishing trips to Santa Cruz, and mountain and beach hikes of the Oregon Coast. He made graduations, birthday parties and family gatherings whether living in California or Oregon. He could be seen in his neighbor’s front yard having “5 o’clock somewhere” cocktails with his buddies Al and Sue. Among his favorite hobbies where drinking mochas and collecting friends. He kept restaurants in business that served fish and eggs. Waitresses in town knew that when he sat down he needed honey, cinnamon, lemon, and real butter. Larry also taught himself the harmonica, keyboard, and Hebrew, as well as, taking up painting and drawing all after the age of 65. Larry used the Hebrew language to further his religious studies. Those that knew him best knew his religious beliefs were of paramount importance. Larry Y. Smith is survived by his sister Lucille Wingerter; his five children: Catherine Ginger McMahan (Guy McMahan), Shirley Christiansen (Sandy Christiansen), William Y. Smith, Mary Clites, and Angie Considine; his five grandchildren: Marcus, Shane (Alma), Samantha, and Isis; and seven great grandchildren: Briana, Austin, Madison, Cole, Elizabeth, Alexia and Kenneth. Larry was preceded in death by four siblings: Charles Smith, Frank Smith, Eugenia Mantia, Alice Smith; two wives: Lucille Smith and Darlene Smith; and grandchildren Samuel Christiansen and Sue Manring. Larry survived three wars, numerous missions, a landslide, frozen feet, bladder cancer, and the hazards that all of us deal with on a daily basis. If Larry Y. Smith had a theme, it would be God, Country, Family, and Friends. He lived a life of service to his fellow man. To some of his grandkids and great grand kids, he has reached super hero status. He will be greatly missed by all those who crossed his path. The family suggests memorial contributions to Coastal Home Health and Hospice, PO Box 6042, Brookings, OR 97415 or the Wounded Warriors Project, PO BOX 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 or online at Viewing will be held from 4 to 8pm on Friday, July 17, 2015 at Redwood Memorial Chapel, 1020 Fifield St. in Brookings. A funeral service will be at 11:00am on Saturday, July 18, 2015 at the Brookings Nazarene Church, 1600 Chetco Ave. in Brookings. Viewing will precede the service at the church beginning at 10:00am. A graveside service will follow the service at WJ Ward Memorial Cemetery, followed by a reception and special military tribute by the Marine Corps League at the Brookings Elks Lodge, 800 Elk Drive in Brookings. Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at
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