Larry Lee Smith of San Saba, Texas was welcomed in heaven on November 22, 2020, with loved ones by his side at Scott & White Memorial Hospital, Marble Falls, Texas. He was born in Muskingum County, Zanesville, Ohio on August 4, 1940, the son of Carl (Bud) Smith and Lillian Summers Smith. He married Alice Stratman from Dresden, Ohio on November 17, 1962.
Larry was a graduate of Hopewell High School, Hopewell, Ohio – Class of 1958, and National Hardwood Lumber Inspection School in Memphis, Tennesse, 1963. He was recognized as one of the Outstanding Young Men of America in 1968.
After graduation, Larry was employed as an Apprentice Carpenter with Carl E. Smith, Dresden, Ohio, from 1958-61. He was then employed as a truck driver for Francis Lacy Log Producer, Dresden, Ohio from 1961-62. Next, he was hired by Hipp Lumber Co. of Millersburg, Ohio as a Lumber Inspector. Larry was quickly promoted to Foreman and then General Manager, overseeing the building of a new sawmill. He worked for Hipp Lumber Co. from 1963-77.
In 1977, Larry moved his wife, Alice, and daughters, Lisa and Jennifer, to Gratiot, Ohio where in partnership with his brother, Joe Smith, they formed Smith Hardwoods Lumber Co. Later, his son-in-law, Bill Crothers, joined him in running Smith Hardwoods.
Larry was very passionate and heavily involved in church and community activities over the years. In the 1980s, Victor Maldonado, Director of Outreach For Youth in Pataskala, Ohio invited Larry to go to Mexico. He went to Mexico and saw the physical and spiritual need and knew that God needed him there. Several pastors in Ohio joined him with finances and labor to build bible schools, churches, and help other pastors.
Larry was ordained at Outreach For Youth, along with Tom Moore, to minister the gospel and they formed Abundant Life Ministries in Hopewell, Ohio. They held services at Hopewell School and in Glenford, Ohio. Pastor Richard Booher later joined them in Glenford. Many trips were made ministering, praying and helping the Mexican people.
On February 3, 1996, Abundant Life Ministries bought Asbury Chapel, an abandoned Methodist Church in Hopewell Township. Larry pastored there until 2006, when he moved to San Saba, Texas so he could be closer to Mexico. Larry, with help from Vince Toomey, built the Entrenamiento De Fe School of Evangelism in San Fernando, Mexico for director Benjamin Ojeda. Members of The Father's House in San Saba, with their Pastor, Tom Brand, made many work trips to Mexico and then Pastor Tom and Vince taught at the school with Larry.
After Benjamin Ojeda’s death in July 2010, changes in leadership were made at the school. 2010 graduate Gabriel W. Araujo Vazquez, was ordained and church services were held at the school. In 2012, the need for a new church was recognized, so Pastor Gabriel relocated his family and the church. Larry, with many friends and church congregations, responded to the need and built Pastor Gabriel a church in San Fernando. Gabriel was the mighty man of God that Larry was looking for.
Larry was an officer in Men’s Full Gospel Fellowship; lay leader and speaker in United Methodist churches in Ohio; life-long member of NRA; member of San Saba Ministerial Alliance; certified as volunteer speaker at the San Saba Women’s prison; and elder of The Father's House. He was pastor of Abundant Life Ministries and spoke at churches to attain support for his Mexico Mission work. He will be remembered for the love, generosity and caring he gave to all people he met. He will be greatly missed on earth but has received his heavenly reward.
Larry was an avid hunter and sportsman. He enjoyed teaching young boys how to hunt, building tree stands, and hunting in both Ohio and Texas. He helped Winfield Basham organize hunts for service members with the group, "Hunting With Soldiers," in San Saba County, Texas.
Larry was preceded in death by his father and mother, Carl (Bud) Smith and Lillian Summers Smith; infant children: James Carl and Tamara Lee; sister-in-laws: Betty Slate and Rhea Murphy; brother-in-laws: Franklin Stratman and John Noland; and special cousin, John Keller.
He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Alice; daughters, Jennifer (Bill) Crothers, Gratiot, Ohio and Lisa (Chris) Miller of Gahanna, Ohio; granddaughter, Michelle (Jim) Kang, Franklin, Tennesse; great-grandchildren: Madison and Camden Kang; sister, Flora Noland, Dresden, Ohio; brother, Joseph (Janice) Smith, Hopewell, Ohio; brother-in-law, Myron Stratman, Vernon, BC Canada; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews; as well as special friend, Juan Cano of Mexico, who lived with Larry and Alice while attending and graduating from San Saba High School.
There will be a Celebration of Life service for Larry on Saturday, December 5th at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church, San Saba, 208 W. Wallace St., San Saba, Texas 76877, with Pastor Tom Brand officiating. Additional services will be held at a later date in Ohio and Mexico.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Larry’s memory to Abundant Life Ministries, P.O. Box 58, San Saba, Texas 76877 for Mexico Missions.