In Memory

Laurence Smith

go to bottom 
  Post Comment
    Prior Page

03/14/16 04:09 PM #3    

Susan Gramms (Walker)

He was living in Salem, Oregon where he died of cancer last December  His FB page has an post about his career and life.

I misspelled his name, it was Laurence but I think his FB page may say Larry.  He  mentions positive memories of SW and I think his profile pic may show him holding a toddler.

03/15/16 11:12 AM #4    

Janette Brown (Brown)

He tolerated gracefully being the 'token minority' in such a very white school. He was gracious, talented and socially savvy. I didn't have any classes with Laurence, so I knew him by reputation and in-passing; but he was warm to me always and never made me feel as naive as I was. Grace; it's underrated.

03/15/16 11:16 AM #5    

Mike Rainen

 I remember Lawrence as just another real fun guy.  I believe he fit in perfectly, and while he joked about race, at least I don't recall anything but normal, natuaral interaction between a new member of our class.  In his case, I think everyone tried to make him feel that he belonged, and he seemed like he had the perfect personality to open a door that had never been opened.  Maybe the years have left something out in my memory, but I will always remember Lawrence as an affable, bright, articulate classmate that happened to be African American.  In hindsight, I hope he remembered us in the same positive way.  It seemed like a very solid beginning to a new era, but very oddly mixed into an extremely tumultuous period surrounding our small and sheltered world that was definitely not always positive.  This is another testimony that Southwest was a very unique, rare, and special place to grow up.  We were all VERY FORTUNATE.  Mike Rainen

03/15/16 11:17 AM #6    

John Wilkinson

Thanks, Susan.  I'll visit his FB page. 

03/15/16 11:51 AM #7    

Terry Satterlee

Thinking lately of Larry and Southwest. So my first memory is his reaching for the football at the goal line during a high school game. Must have been a "moment". He was always kind and we talked together about normal high school issues. He will be missed. Is any of his family still in the area? He will be missed.  

03/16/16 12:19 PM #8    

Bill Bauer

Laurence was my first black friend.  We played ball together.  We shared the after school fight phenomenon (not with each other).  We accepted each other by the shared experiences of boys trying to be men.  Yet in retrospect when he was yanked back to his home after school, we became separate again.  We didn’t hang together outside of school because of that physical divide.  I never appreciated what he was doing in the bigger scheme of challenging what we are now calling institutional racism.  We just accepted each other.  In the end I lost track of him, yet I never forgot him.  His brave one man ambassadorship to Southwest taught me the commonality of the human condition which I value today.  Thank you Laurence, rest in peace knowing your sacrafices were not in vain.     

03/16/16 01:05 PM #9    

Bill Cater

Laurence was my teammate on the football team and he was the manager of our basketball team. He was a great classmate. I think his immersion into Southwest High School has always been an example of how most of us in our class were brougt up. I don't remember where it made any difference as to what was our faith or our economic status. We had a certain societal norm that most of us tried to follow and if we didn't, then the main-stream would sort of force us in a reasonably positive direction. Laurence was a teacher for all us that race wasn't the determinant, but it was the character of the man that was the key element. Laurence had character, that's a combination of integrity and courage. As I look back at our high school years, I appreciatre the courage that he had to come to our school and how he enriched all of our lives. I hope we had some of the same impact on his life. May God continue to bless Laurence and his familhy. RIP Laurence.





03/16/16 04:57 PM #10    

Mike Shapiro

Larry was a terrific guy. I'm glad we became friends at SW  I got to know him well before my family moved to Santa Monica.  My former wife and I had lunch with him a year or two prior to his move to Oregon. We communicated and saw each other a few more times. I only heard from him once after his move up north.  He was just as he was in HS, intelligent, humorous and a very nice person.  

09/30/16 05:26 PM #11    

Wayne Shuyler

Larry was a great guy and teammate.  A few times after school we would hang out at my house since it was on his way home. Once, he stayed for dinner after calling home to get permission.  I loved blocking for him in games and trying to tackle him in drills. I remember that we did a skit together at an assembly or some other gathering in the auditorium where we pretended to be professional wrestlers and I was the Ox, a popular local wrestler.  I don't remember any of our lines but I almost got expelled for something I said on stage that was taken as racially insensitive, but Larry and I had "written" the skit together. I'm sad he won't be with us again. 

10/01/16 08:29 AM #12    

Marie Brown

Does anybody remember the assembly where a bunch of guys carried in a stretcher with Laurence on it, playing dead and representing a high school our team was determined to beat at football? 

go to top 
  Post Comment
    Prior Page