Bio Bite: Loren Oscar Smith

By Eilene Lyon

Loren Oscar Smith (1911–1974)
Loren Smith with his mother, Mary Lila (Reams) Smith, about 1913.

“Loren was only six when his mother died.… I was often admonished during those years that I should look after my younger brother.… I don’t think at that age I could have accepted all that responsibility. In any event Loren ended up something of a juvenile delinquent.”

Loren (left) with his father, Charles E. Smith, and Laurence (Grandpa) about 1922 at the farm north of Moscow, Idaho.

While living in Jacksonville, Florida, around 1940, he married a woman named Ann Ruth Alexander, but they soon divorced. Loren served in both the Army and Navy during WWII.

After his service, he returned west and worked for the phone company, like his brother Cliff. He married Mary O. “Bonnie” Smith in 1943 and nine months later they had a set of twins, a boy and girl. The family settled in Post Falls east of Spokane in 1960.

Bonnie Smith (1922-2005) with her twins and sister-in-law Minnie (Danilson) Smith.

The last of the seven Smith children born, Loren was the second to pass away. Only he and Ada became grandparents.


Smith, Laurence. “The Passing Parade.” February 15, 1990.

28 thoughts on “Bio Bite: Loren Oscar Smith

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      1. No kidding. I look at my mother’s side and of the 15 kids (my grandmother and her siblings) there were, lemme see… about 24 grandkids (I’m surely missing some) and then, the kids of those, well, I lost count at 50….

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      2. In my generation, I have five cousins. My dad had at least 37. I can hardly imagine. A family the size of your grandmother’s is actually unusually large! I’ve found some, especially with multiple marriages, but infrequent.


    1. Grandpa didn’t bother to elaborate, so I have no idea. Loren and Grandpa had a stepmother that none of the Smith kids liked. Grandpa never even mentions her in any of his memoirs. I was astonished when I discovered her. Maybe some of those delinquent things had some root in the animosity toward the stepmother.


    1. It’s tough to cover a life in 150 words, but I’m glad Grandpa and I were able to convey a good deal about his siblings in this series. It’s too bad I never met any of them. I have communicated with Loren’s daughter (both twins are still living).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A few years after Lila (mother) died, the father remarried. No one liked her. I suspect the grown children were especially disparaging and it rubbed off on the younger boys, Laurence and Loren. Even so, I think Moscow was probably a very nice place to grow up.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You learned a lot of family history while you were in Moscow, Idaho Eilene. The portraits of children or adults always seem so stiff and formal and I know I have commented to that effect in the past. It begs the question: did the photographer not say “smile and say cheese” back in the day?

    Liked by 1 person

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