Leland Gayle Smith

September 16, 1945November 22, 2022
Obituary of Leland Gayle Smith
A shining light left this earth: L. G. Skip Smith completed his journey on November 22, 2022. Skip was born on September 16, 1945 in Terrell, Texas, to Leland B. Smith and Mary Johnson Smith. Skip grew up in Paris, Texas, came to Austin to attend the University, followed by UT Law School (sporadically), and only found his way out of town for exciting travels and his final sailing trip. Those of you who knew Skip are no doubt astonished to be reading this, for if anyone ever took care of themselves, it was Skip. Almost makes you wonder if you’re not better off eating junk food and not bothering to exercise… Even if it didn’t change his destiny, he always looked fit and much younger than his age, so maybe it was worth it. Skip was a devout atheist but lived his life according to Christian principles. He was the most morally upright person you’d ever want to meet, full of compassion and generosity. Skip achieved what Matthew says a true Christian should be: in his heart and by his acts—not on his lips. Thus, God showed him favor by always opening up a parking place for him, even in the most desperate circumstances. Of course, the luck of the atheist was the least of his good fortune. Skip was intelligent, handsome, and jovial. Always ready for a good time, he didn’t know the location of Bummer Street. His good humor was infectious. A true raconteur—he regaled us with numerous anecdotes of his time working for Bob Bullock and with Student Travel stories about squiring rowdy coeds through Europe—a sharp wit, a performer of side-splitting imitations, Skip was cracking jokes on his death bed. Skip also had his serious side. He was a hard-working, methodical person. He had a distinguished legal career, starting at the Texas Comptroller’s Office under Robert S. Calvert and continuing under Bob Bullock. Skip was one of the original “Bullock Raiders” that busted the scofflaws that were not paying their State taxes. After his public service, Skip spent many years practicing at Clark, Thomas & Winters from which he retired. He earned the esteem of all who dealt with him. Shady characters tended to lurk away from Skip, thinking he was a G-man. Skip was such a diplomat, and in a sticky situation, he’s the one you’d send out to reason with the cops. Skip lived for 77 lucky years. As luck would have it, Skip discovered, through a fluke of early detection, that he had pancreatic cancer and found the perfect doctor to keep the cancer at bay, thus allowing him to beat the odds and enjoy a last lap. Another stroke of luck was meeting his soulmate. The most unlikely couple, Ed Delabarre was wrong for many reasons: astrologically misaligned planets, always grabbing the toothpaste by the middle, quick to cover up his failings with intellectual arrogance, and an absolutely terrible driver. Yet they enjoyed their shared interests for more that four decades of adventures, proving once again that love is much deeper than anyone imagines. Skip is survived by his brother, Gary Smith, several nieces and nephews, and many good friends. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. If there is a consolation, it’s knowing that he lived life to the fullest of every second. Sail away, sweet spirit, you shall always remain in our thoughts. A celebration of life will be announced later. Skip was a generous contributor to many charities. Please follow his lead and give to the charities of your choice.

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