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Former Riverside County Sheriff to be laid to rest next weekend

By Jeff Stahl, KESQ News Channel 3 Morning News Anchor, jstahl@kesq.com
Published On: Apr 24 2013 08:50:40 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2013 09:03:31 AM CDT
Retired Riverside County Sheriff Larry D. Smith
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

Memorial plans were announced Tuesday for a retired Riverside County Sheriff, Larry D. Smith.

Smith, sheriff from 1994-2002, died Friday at his home in La Quinta at the age of 68.

"Larry D. Smith was a bright man," said Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff.  "Bright enough and humble enough to surround himself with other smart people in Mr. Smith's two terms as sheriff," said Sniff.

A statement from the sheriff's department quoted Smith's wife as saying, "He said that made the team much richer." Toni Smith said, "he didn't have any yes people. He loved debate and he loved discussion because he felt that what would emerge from that was much more robust decision-making that would be more responsive to the needs of the community."

Smith dealt with heart problems dating back to his 30's.  He was also fighting bladder cancer and pneumonia.

Smith had previously beaten prostate cancer twice.

He began his career in 1966 as a deputy in Blythe.  

Years later, then-Sheriff Cois Byrd encouraged Smith to run for sheriff.  Smith was about to earn a law degree and retire to open a practice.

Smith won his first term as the county's 11th elected sheriff and ran unopposed for his second.

During Smith's two-term tenure as sheriff, he helped the county acquire federal government land, now home to the Ben Clark Training Center near March Air Reserve Base.

Toni Smith attributes his mid-western roots and qualities to helping her husband have his name being placed on  the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

Smith is survived by a daughter and two sons.

A memorial service is planned for May 4 at 11 a.m. at the Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church, 47321 Highway 74 in Palm Desert.