Remembering former Riverside County Sheriff Larry Smith
The sound of bagpipes and whispers of "Amazing Grace" filled the Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church on Saturday as 600 friends and family and brothers and sisters in law enforcement remembered former Riverside County Sheriff Larry Smith.
Smith, of La Quinta, was 68 years old and the father of three.
"It was gratifying to see all of those people show up to show their respects to my father. Not only was he my dad, he was my mentor. The reason I became a deputy sheriff was because of him," said Smith's son, San Bernardino Deputy Darrell Smith.
Smith served 36 years with the department and passed away two weeks ago from health-related issues. He had heart problems, was fighting bladder cancer and pneumonia and had beaten prostate cancer twice.
"In times like this, it's always very critical that we come together. We work, play together and we also grieve losses together," said Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff.
Smith's wife Toni gave a heartfelt message of the memories she shared with her best friend.
"He was a good man, a fine man, the love of my life," she said.
She says her husband was a family man who traveled the world. He began his career in 1966 as a deputy in Blythe and spent two terms as the 11th Riverside County sheriff from 1994 to 2002.
Sniff salutes Smith, who he calls a great leader and key player in the history of the department.
"Larry also made a direct imprint on making our agency that much more professional," said Sniff.
As loved ones said goodbye, they left the memorial with a list of "Larry's favorite quotes."
"He always had a dry wit. He was always very famous for saying, 'Do the right thing for the right reason, ' and that's always important in law enforcement," said Sniff.
Smith's wife ended her message with one of the quotes saying "Larry we will miss you in big ways, small ways and always."
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