Born Monday, December 11, 1944
Died Thursday, November 19, 2020
Larry Patrick Smith of Muskogee, Oklahoma went to Jesus in Bartlesville, Oklahoma at the Journey Home Hospice House on 19 November 2020. He was born 11 December 1944 in Sacramento, California, to Rex Percival Smith and Dorothea Lois Brattain.
Larry graduated from Grant Union High School in Del Paso Heights, California. Despite a promising career in football, he gave it up to help care for his younger sister after school. He went to work at a local furniture store after high school, delivering furniture.
Faced with the draft during the Vietnam War, he enlisted in the Air Force and was trained as a field medic (aka independent duty tech). He spent 18 months in Vietnam with a Red Horse team establishing field hospitals and caring for the wounded. Immediately upon his return stateside, he grabbed his car and drove non-stop to Columbia, Missouri, to attend his younger sister’s wedding.
On 13 November 1965 Larry married Helen E. Bastian. They made their home at Oxnard, California. On 11 March 1967 in Ventura County, California they were blessed with their beautiful daughter, Helen Dawn Smith. Unfortunately, their marriage ended in December 1968.
After two more failed marriages, Larry married Marcy Joan (Smith) Henrick on 12 December 1983 at Cannon AFB in Clovis, New Mexico. They were 23 days away from their 37th anniversary and 22 days from his 76th birthday.
Larry spent 20 years in the Air Force before retiring at Cannon AFB in Clovis, New Mexico. He returned home to California to be with his parents during his father’s final two years and to attend his daughter’s high school graduation and wedding.
In California, Larry became employed by the United States Postal Service as a clerk. He rapidly entered supervisory management training, including assistant postmaster. At a point where he was in negotiation with regional management for a postmaster position, he was told his health would not permit the stress of further supervisory positions or outdoor mail delivery. He was assigned as a desk mail clerk.
In 1991 Larry accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior at the Baptist Church in Loomis, California. He filmed all services and baptisms for the next 2 years. He taught 2-3-year-old children in Sunday School and taught 7-8th grade boys in Awana. He loved the children, and many sat with Larry and Marcy during church services. When Larry and Marcy moved to Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, they requested to be joined with the Church of Christ.
From 1994 to 2005 Larry worked for USPS in Amarillo, Texas, and in Big Spring, Texas. He also became a family caregiver along with Marcy during that time. By the time he retired from USPS, Larry had held every position except postmaster and vehicle maintenance. He maintained a perfect safety record and received recognition for saving a fellow employee, when his friend suddenly had a heart attack at break time.
In 1986 Larry was diagnosed with a blood disorder (later classified blood disease). In 2005 the disease caused a stroke, which left his lower right arm paralyzed and took a good portion of his speech. He worked hard to maintain enough mobility to continue helping Marcy with caregiving. In 2014 he was diagnosed with aggressive malignant melanoma in his right arm. When the doctor apologized for the size and ugliness of the wound, Larry shook the doctor’s hand and said, “It’s beautiful!”. Larry thought they would have to take at least half of his arm. He wore his scar proudly. In 2016 Larry dumped his adult tricycle off the edge of a driveway. He hit a cast iron drainage pipe under the driveway and broke 4 ribs and walked 1/8 mile uphill to the house. In 2017 he fell and fractured his femur just below the ball joint. He had a partial hip replacement. He prided himself in only taking 5 painkillers after he returned home 10 days later. In 2018 another small melanoma was removed from the original site. We knew then, it would probably return in a full storm with no way to treat the disease. On 28 October 2020 we received the news of the melanoma return. His liver was totally taken over and bleeding. On 11 November 2020 he was placed on hospice at the Journey Home Hospice House under the nursing care of Comforting Hands Hospice in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Larry’s daughter and younger sister made it to Bartlesville, Oklahoma on the following Sunday at noon. His smile was beautiful as he mouthed “I love you” and kissed both multiple times. By Monday morning he had slipped into deep sleep but seem to still physically respond to his daughter’s and sister’s goodbyes that evening. On Tuesday morning when Marcy told him they were on their way home, there were no tears or facial changes, but Marcy said she could hear him crying in his throat sounds.
Larry was proudest to be a Christian and the times he was able to serve as a servant. His greatest loves were his family, particularly his daughter and younger sister. For 36 years he loved Marcy unconditionally and supported her in all ways a husband should.
Preceding Larry in death were his parents, a nephew; James E Swager and his wife Darlene (Pugh) Swager, and nephew; David A Swager.
Surviving Larry are his wife Marcy of the home, his older sister; Darlene Joyce (Smith) Swager (Claude) of Oregon; younger sister, Marilyn Kay (Smith) Houston (Mike) of Gardnerville, Nevada; daughter, Helen Dawn (Smith) Craig (Scott) of Tucson, Arizona; three grandchildren, (Larry’s greatest joy) were Holly Elizabeth (Craig) Evans of Las Vegas, Nevada (Clark AFB); Erin Nicole Craig of Tucson, Arizona, and Tyler Scott Craig (his partner Morgan) of Havre, Montana. He knew no pain when he finally got to be with his great grandchildren, Tyre Charles Evans, Madisyn Nicole Evans and Riley Cameron Evans both of Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada. His great grandchildren’s father; Cameron De’Voe Evans also survives in Tucson, Arizona. Larry was also survived by his stepson; Michael Cory Hendrick (Kim) of Bryan, Texas; step-grandchildren, Audrey and Bruce Hendrick of their parents’ home; nephew, Kevin M Swager (Cheryl) and niece, Janeane Marie (Houston) Wyatt (Jason).
Larry was cremated and ashes will be placed in a columbarium niche at Fort Gibson National Cemetery located in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. A family memorial will be held in the spring.
The family of Larry Patrick Smith has entrusted his cremation to Clifford D Garrett Family Funeral Home, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. 918-478-2555.
Online condolences may be left at clifforddgarrettfamilyfh.com