In Loving Memory - Leonard C. Smith

In August, 2011, my dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia and given at most 2 months to live. (God gave us three.) The news came as a shock to us all, though Dad’s health had not been the best in recent years. Still, hope springs eternal, and there was a part of me that hoped he would never die. But as he told me after the diagnosis, death is part of life. He was not afraid to face it. He was ready to be with Jesus. Throughout my life, my dad has been a hero to me. He was a quiet man with an unassuming sense of humor, that brought joy and laughter to all who knew him. His legacy of faith was a testament to all, even to the end.

As a child, my dad was there for me. In elementary school, when I was too young to be home alone, I would walk home from school at lunch time and on days my mom worked, Dad would be there to let me in to have lunch with me before I had to return to school for the afternoon. When they would have school assemblies where they honored students for various achievements, Dad would come and sit in the audience, quietly supporting me.

During the last years I lived at home before my marriage, we had a standing date on Friday night for dinner. Sometimes I would cook something simple, but most of the time he would take me out somewhere. We collected animated character glasses from Pizza Hut for weeks so that Randy and I would have drinking glasses in our new home.

For years, Dad was a deacon in the church I grew up in, and I couldn’t help the swell of pride I felt when he walked the aisle to serve communion. A humble man, he served in the church for many years in different capacities. But it was his love of the Bible that stood out to us most. I don’t know when he began the practice, but for as long as I can remember, Dad read his Bible from cover to cover, year after year. January 1st, he began with Genesis 1 and on December 31st ended with Revelation 22. In later years, even in the nursing home where he lived, his Bible sat on his table and he read it often. Perhaps this is where my love of Scripture came from.

My dad loved to golf, enjoyed yearly trips to Myrtle Beach with friends, and played on a bowling league. He took up walking in his middle years and became an avid “mall walker”. When my firstborn was still in a stroller, I would sometimes join him, pushing the stroller. I had a hard time keeping up his pace!

Dad enjoyed watching baseball and golf matches on TV. He worried the dog when the Tigers were losing and he would raise his voice telling them what to do!

He didn’t read much except for his Bible, though he enjoyed biographies in later years. He loved music, and would tap a beat to the songs on his iPod. He loved gadgets, particularly watches with lots of bells and whistles, though he never cared much to learn how to handle a computer.

He joined the army during WWII and spent several years traveling on a submarine and other ships to exotic places like the New Hebrides islands and the Philippines. He decoded messages that would come in from the enemy and pass them on to his superiors, was promoted to sergeant and was awarded medals for good conduct. When the war ended, he returned home to his wife (my mom) and their young son.

After the war, he eventually got a job as an accountant for a small company that produced automotive parts. When the company went bankrupt, Dad worked for a contract house until he retired.

Life had its difficult moments for my dad from his youth on. As a child, he moved at least six times in ten years and spent 10th-12th grades--each year in a different school. He and my mom married young, and spent 69 years together. He loved her ‘til the end.

Dad was 89 years old.

For those interested in funeral arrangements, please email me.

Your prayers at this time are most appreciated.

In His Grace~

~Jill

PersonalJill Eileen Smith