To Protect and to Serve

Dad motorcycle.jpg

God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble Psalms 46:1

I lost my dad yesterday. I suppose in every situation, that you are never prepared to lose someone you love. I had 51 years of memories come flooding in. We knew of his pancreatic cancer for only 9 days before he was gone. He passed peacefully on a Thursday morning with my mom, my sister and I by his side. We believe this was exactly what he wanted.

When we went to write his obituary, we found that they only allow 30 words and that just wasn’t enough to honor the man that we love. I am grateful that God has given me a platform that we could use.

Larry William Smith, or is it William Larry? He decided to change it in his twenties. He was the son of O.L. and Louise Smith of Fort Worth and brother to Kelly Smith. My dad, Larry and his brother Kelly, both went into law enforcement. Thankfully their mom was a praying women, she interceded for both of them daily.

At 19, Larry married 17 year old Shelia Malone. Shelia was the love of his life for 54 years. He loved her “more”. He was her husband, protector, provider, best friend, and “Huggy Bear.” This is where I come in. My dad lived in a house full of women, with two daughters, myself and my sister Becky Kerns. He taught my sister and I many things, not the least of which was what a lifelong marriage looked like. It takes love, perseverance, forgiveness, and grace.

Dad spent most of his career in law enforcement with the Town of Pantego Police Department in Pantego, Texas. He worked his way through the ranks, eventually becoming the Chief of Police for seventeen years. He continued to serve the community as the City Manager for another seventeen years. He was honored by the town when they chose to name the new police station the Larry W. Smith Law Enforcement Facility This is an honor he, and all of us, are very proud of.

Another incredible honor was when he was invited, as the chief of police, to attend the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He loved this experience and was extremely proud of his accomplishment, as we all are.

Dad took his oath of “To Protect and to Serve” very seriously, not just at work but at home, as well. He protected his family fiercely. Most of all, we always felt loved and we always knew that he was proud of us. Mom spent the last year serving him in ways that she never anticipated, and she would not have it any other way.

When Becky and I were kids, we used to take family road trips to Galveston, Texas. Every time, when we would get in the car Dad would say, “Here we go!” Then he would look in the back seat and say, “Everybody say, here we go!” We would of course echo it back. Thursday morning, as we were saying goodbye for the last time, I had a picture of him going home to be reunited with his parents. I can only imagine that he turned to Jesus and said “Here we go!”

Dad, we admire, respect, and love you so much! Say Hi to Mamaw and Granddaddy for us. Becky and I promise to protect and to serve Mom and make you proud.

Larry William Smith; May 13th 1946 -June 27th 2019.

Larry is survived by his wife Shelia Smith, brother Kelly Smith and his wife Kim, daughter Becky Russell-Kerns, daughter and son-n-law Barbie and Richard Armenta, Grandchildren Taylor Russell, Nick and Katie Balli, Mitchell and Kami Anderson, Dawson Anderson, Dakota and Preston Woody, Great grandchildren Chloe and Riley Balli. Preceeded in death by his parents O.L. and Louise Smith and son-n-law Victor Kerns III.

A small Family Celebration of Life will be held at City Life Church on July 10th.