News & Education

Obituary: Lawrence D. Smith Jr.

Aug 21, 2011 - News by

LAWRENCE D. SMITH JR., NOV. 13,1950-JULY 24, 2011

Miami partner Larry Smith will be remembered

MIAMI (July 25, 2011) – Larry Smith, an accomplished commercial litigation lawyer at Walton Lantaff Schroeder & Carson in Miami, passed away at South Miami on Sunday among close friends and family gathered to bid him goodbye and give thanks for his life.
He was born Lawrence David Smtih Jr. in Brooklyn, New York on November 13, 1950, and attended Fordham University until graduation in 1972, then attended St. John’s University, where he got his Juris Doctor in 1975.  He practiced law in New York for a few years and then was admitted to the Florida bar in 1981 and the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida in 1982.

Larry Smith joined Walton Lantaff Schroeder & Carson to work in the firm’s aviation department on July 6, 1981, 30 years ago this month, when the firm had its Miami offices in the [Congress Building] [Alfred I. Dupont] building..

Known as Miami’s second-oldest continually operated law partnership, Walton Lantaff was founded in 1934 when Miller Walton moved to Miami from Hephzibah Ga. and set up shop in the Congress Building. The partnership was created when former congressman William Lantaff and Yale graduate Laurence Schroeder joined Walton. The firm has grown to eight offices across Florida and it recently celebrated its 77th year of service..

Larry Smith married Sandra Ellen Norman on November 5, 1983, and that year they bought a 3-bedroom house in Pinecrest. Together they raised their daughter Emily, a recent Nova School Law graduate, following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather.  Smith is survived by his wife and daughter, as well as a brother, John, and sister, Susan.

Colleague Beth J. Leahy, a senior partner at Walton Lantaff, said “Larry fought his lung cancer with courage, but it continued to spread and there was nothing else to be done.”  On Sunday he gathered his family and friends together at South Miami Hospital with him to say goodbye, had final rites and passed without pain, and with great dignity.”

Leahy said, “He was at peace and ready to face the mystery beyond. His imprint on the firm, and on us all, will be long lasting. He was proud of the firm and it was important to him to tell us all what a good firm it is, and wlll be, even without him.”

Senior Partner Bernard I. Probst, who worked closely with Larry since he joined the firm’s Miami office in 1978, said, “Larry Smith exhibited the commitment to the community and his family that many of us only hope to achieve in a lifetime. He was loved by his colleagues, who will miss him and are joining to offer support to Sandra during this difficult time. Larry was so close to his colleagues that he invited them to be present for his last rites and said a dignified goodbye.”

A Memorial Visitation will be held at Stanfill Funeral Home on Thursday, July 28, 2011 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm (located at 10545 S. Dixie Highway Miami, Florida 33156.  A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 11:00a.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church 14260 Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay, Florida.

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