College Boy

Week 3: #52Ancestors – Out of Place

By Eilene Lyon

My grandfather, Laurence M. Smith aka Smitty, was the only one in his family to attend college. He earned his degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Idaho in 1931, which eventually led to a very successful career with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Smitty traveled wherever his career took him, even to Little Rock, Arkansas. (Where I was born because of it.) One of his brothers joined the military, but the others did not move far. Between Smitty’s education and his travels, he was out of place within his birth family. He also outlived them all, by quite a bit. Only his brother Leon lived nearly as many years.

The Smith family about 1913. Back: Dora Ada, Harry Edward. Middle: Clara Bell, Charles Edward, Clifford Loyd, Mary Lila, Leon Leslie. Front: Laurence Martin (behind) and Loren Oscar.

He had two sisters and four brothers, all older but one. I never met any of Grandpa’s siblings, and only one of my mother’s cousins on this side of the family. Most of what I know of them comes from Grandpa’s memoirs and family photos.

The Smith siblings about 1970. (Clara Bell died in 1954.)
Back: Laurence, Leon “Bill”, Loren, Harry. Front: Clifford, Ada

For some time, I’ve wanted to start a series called “Bio Bites.” These would be short profiles of people on my tree that come in under 150 words. I thought the Smith siblings would be a great way to begin, so I will do a short post on each over the next six days. I will try to include a Smitty quote for each sibling.

They are:

Clara Bell Smith Blaylock

Harry Edward Smith

Dora Ada Smith Trout

Leon Leslie “Bill” Smith

Clifford Loyd Smith

Loren Oscar Smith

Feature image: Laurence M. Smith, early 1930s.

34 thoughts on “College Boy

Add yours

  1. He was lucky to attend college in those days. But family connections could lead to career success too. My grandfather only graduated from high school (circa 1900) but he became a bank vice president. How? His cousin was the bank president!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do enjoy your family tree posts and the old photos. Bio bites is an intriguing title I am sure you will enjoy putting them together. Not an easy feat to be college educated back then. Well done, Smitty .

    Liked by 1 person

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