[Masthead] Fair ~ 82°F  
High: 87°F ~ Low: 64°F
Friday, July 31, 2015

Former Westmar president dies in Texas

Monday, April 18, 2005

Laurence Christian Smith, 84, who served as president of Westmar College from 1968 to 1976, died Monday, April 4, 2005.

Born in Pontiac, Mich., on Aug. 1, 1920, he received his A.B. in 1946 from York College in Nebraska, and an M.A. and Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Nebraska. While at York College he met his future wife of 61 years, Maurine Marvel.

He was a pilot in the Air Force during World War II, serving as a flight and gunnery instructor stationed on the Texas gulf coast. After the war he began a long career in the academic world, serving as a professor/dean of students and vice chancellor of student life at Texas Christian University; academic dean at William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri; president of Westmar College in Le Mars; president of the University of Albuquerque, N.M., and administrator of First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque.

He was an accomplished pianist and musician, a talented golfer and tennis player, a published poet, an avid gardener and furniture refinisher, a collector and restorer of antique golf equipment, and a collector and appraiser of North American Indian art and pottery.

In 1986 he and his wife established a subscription computer data base system tracking auction prices for Indian art that was used by collectors and appraisers nationwide.He was a frequent contributing author for American Indian Art at Auction, Antiques and the Arts Weekly, the Antique Review, and for several years wrote a monthly column in The Indian Trader.

He was a devoted family man.

He is survived by his wife Maurine of Richardson, Texas; two brothers, Gene, of Anderson, Ind., and Chris, of Romeo, Mich.; son Alan, of Fort Worth, Texas son Gary and daughter-in-law Annette, of Richardson, Texas, and daughter Marta of Torrance, Calif.; grandchildren, Dirk and his wife Jennifer, of Arlington, Jennifer, of Houston, Cynthia of San Marcos, Texas, Perry and Matthew Leventhal, of Torrance, Calif.; and great-grandchildren Sean and Alex Smith.