Lawrence Cullen Smith, Jr., age 95, of Waller, Texas, departed this world to enter the kingdom of heaven on April 21, 2023. His family was there to comfort him at the time of his passing. He was born on September 10, 1927, in Fostoria, Texas, to Grace Irene Ellis Smith and Lawrence Cullen Smith, Sr.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, William Cullen Smith and Victor Eugene Smith of Cleveland, Texas; his stepson, Douglas Wayne Sanders; his nephews, Pat Smith, William Robert Smith, and Randall Clay Smith; his niece, Kathi Ann Smith Sandoval; and his grandson, Lawrence Cullen Smith IV.
He is survived by his wife, Norma Mounce Smith, of Houston, Texas; daughter, Larri Lin Smith Armand, and husband, Glenn, of Alexandria, Louisiana; son, Lawrence Cullen Smith III, and wife, Gloria, of San Antonio, Texas; daughter, Patti Smith Brune, and husband, Royce, of Wharton, Texas; son, Norman Stuart Smith, and wife, Alicia, of Magnolia, Texas; son, Andrew Victor Smith, Sr., and wife, Maria, of Houston, Texas; stepdaughter, Donna Sanders Kenneday, and husband, Richard, of Cypress, Texas; grandchildren, Morgan Gillett, Mandalyn J. Felix, Meagan Gillett, Maslin Suarez, Garrett Armand, Jason Brune, Justin Brune, Loren Smith, Andrew Smith, Jr., Nichole Mendoza, Deanna Mills, Erica Stauffer, Deidra Trivedi, Dale Mills; great-grandchildren, Wimbley Vu, Quinn Campbell, Leo Campbell, Taylor Brune, Brice Brune, Ayden Tywater, Cosette Stauffer, Kinsey Stauffer, Tenzin Stauffer, Truman Stauffer, Jonathan Stauffer, Carson Mills, Derek Mills, Madeleine Mendoza, Myerick Mendoza, and Makaylynn Mendoza.
Lawrence Smith graduated from Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Texas, in May 1945. He served in the United States Navy from 1945 to 1946 and reached the rank of Seaman First Class. Lawrence was stationed in the southwest Pacific and served on the USS Puget Sound (CVE-113) and on USS PC 1122. After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Lawrence attended the University of Houston. Afterward, he held various jobs during his working career which included work as a petrochemical plant operator and also in construction. He held various positions from welder, pipefitter, and surveyor to job superintendent, job estimator, and bidder. In addition, Lawrence owned a White’s Auto store in Brownfield, Texas.
Lawrence was an avid airplane pilot. He owned two of his own airplanes, one of which he built in partnership with a friend. He was generous and kind to others and had an engineering mind as well. He enjoyed building things and working with his hands. His kindness and generosity coupled with his mechanical skills allowed him to help others by giving the best of himself. In his retirement years, Lawrence volunteered to fly cancer patients from remote parts of the country to Houston for medical treatments. If a family member was ever in need, he was always there to help. He was a family man and enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His character was one of honor, integrity, respect, and self-reliance. Mandalyn, his granddaughter, describes him as, “the sweetest southern gentleman,” and his daughter, Larri, says, “They don’t make them like that anymore.” His granddaughter Deidra adds, “Papaw was such a big influence on those who loved him. We can still imagine him wearing his suspenders and a proper hat while proudly smiling his friendly smile, conducting classical music in the air and humming the symphonies of Rachmaninov, or driving his old yellow pickup truck to the hangar to work on his airplanes.”
Lawrence lived a long and joyful life, and he will be greatly missed by his family and friends. May he rest in peace.