Laurence Lynn Smith was born on August 8, 1946 in Rigby, Idaho to Thomas and Sarah Smith. He was the fourth of ten children. His mother would often comment on his character of forgiveness and how he always wanted to be with friends. Perhaps being a “people person” molded him into always wanting to learn more to teach and help others.
Laurence graduated from Wendell High School, where he had lived most of his life. He served an LDS mission in Brazil for two years. Upon returning from his mission, he fell in love with his sweetheart, Debra Brown, and they married in the Salt Lake City LDS temple on May 16, 1969.
Because of his low number in the military draft, he went to the Air Force recruiting office to take the entrance test to try to enlist. He loved telling the miracle of passing it with the highest score ever. Because of that, he was accepted into the Air Force Intelligence in January 1970. He served for seven years, being assigned to Biloxi, Mississippi, Germany, Japan, and Williams AFB in Arizona.
After returning to civilian life, the family moved back to Wendell, Idaho. During the first 25 years of their marriage, they moved 25 times which allowed him to share his light and love to so many around the world. While living in Twin Falls, and being under much stress, he suffered a major heart attack on Dec. 9, 1984. In that process of the heart attack, his vision was affected, and he became legally blind. Because of his vision loss, the family moved to Boise, Idaho to be close to the VA hospital and to have help from the Idaho Commission for the Blind. Ten months later, he suffered another heart attack. Through that experience, he promised his Heavenly Father that if he could survive, he would learn and teach others how to take care of their health. He achieved that promise. The family feels blessed that they could keep him for another 34 years. He passed away a day before the anniversary of his first heart attack.
In trying to “find himself” with his vision loss, he met a visually impaired Boise State professor, Norm Gardner. It was through Norm’s example of what a blind person can achieve that he realized he could live a normal and successful life. He attended BSU and graduated with a master’s degree in social work. He wasn’t sure he wanted to work as a social worker, but the skills he learned through that program were used the rest of his life. Eventually, he discovered a product that literally saved his life. It was then that he began to study natural health products. On January 2, 2000, he and Debra opened a store and sold supplements, taught classes, and did consultations. He had found his purpose and loved helping others and serving, not only with physical aspects, but with spiritual healing.
Laurence was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and loved the Lord with all his heart. He always invited others to find and draw near to Christ. He was passionate about that message.
Those that knew him will remember him for so many things including: his amazing gift as a teacher, his compassion and desire to help others, his teasing nature, his service to others, his knowledge, his spirituality, his tender heart, his ability to forgive, his desire to be a peacemaker, his thirst for knowledge and his continued pursuit on finding new ways to help people.
Through the years, the family grew to six beautiful daughters, Shauna (Locker), Sally (Cranney), Stephanie (Johnsons), Samantha (Ball), Suzanne (King), and Jane (Oliver). The girls brought to Laurence’s posterity 16 wonderful grandchildren. He loved his son’s-in-law and appreciated their love for family.
His mission of life ended on Dec. 8, 2018 and is now able to see and continue to serve and help those on the other side. With his extensive travel where he taught and touched the lives of so many, his absence will be felt not only locally but throughout the nation.
Laurence was a gifted teacher. His final act in his passing was teaching us all how to be better people by loving, serving, responding with compassion, holding our loved ones tighter and following Christ in everything we do and say.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel located at 8620 Goddard Rd., Boise. A viewing will be held from 10:00-10:45 a.m. prior to the service at the church. Family will also greet friends from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 14, 2018 at Relyea Funeral Chapel, 318 N. Latah St., Boise. Interment will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, December 17, 2018 at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Relyea Funeral Chapel.