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Lawrence A. Smith, Jr. 1936-2019

Lawrence Anthony Smith Jr., 82, of Champaign, died March 31, 2019.

He was the cherished husband of Pastor Donna (Hacker) Smith for 31 years. He is survived by her, as well as his children, Lawrence III (Jackie) of Spokane, Washington, Amy Smith of Pardeeville, Wisconsin,  Ann (William) Petersen of Crossville, Tennessee, Andrew (Lisa) Smith of Winnebago, Sean (Laurel) Smith of Priest Lake, Idaho, Alicia (Kent) Downs of Edwardsville, and Margaret (Chris) Bausman of Winnebago. He is fondly remembered by his nieces, Cindy (Ted) Neumann and Jenny Hacker. He is also survived by 21 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews and many dear friends and colleagues.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Richard K. Smith Sr., of Savanna.

Lawrence was born in Rockford on Sept. 25, 1936, the son of Lawrence Smith Sr. and Alyce (Johnston) Smith. He was raised in Savanna and graduated from Savanna High School in 1954. He went on to earn a degree in commerce from the University of Illinois in 1958 and his juris doctor degree from the University of Illinois Law School in 1961. At the U of I, he played violin in the Symphony Orchestra and clarinet during a stint with the Marching Illini, endeavors in which he took great pride.

After graduation, he entered into practice at Smith Law Firm with his father and brother in Savanna until he was appointed an associate judge in Stephenson County in 1976. He was later elected a circuit judge in the 15th Judicial Circuit, where he served until his retirement in 1996. In 2002, he and Donna moved to Champaign, where she served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and he delighted in Illini sports and cultural life.

Professionally, Lawrence was a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the American Bar Association, serving on many committees and bringing his unique experience and perspective to gatherings. He served on the American Bar’s International Legal Exchange and participated in study trips to South America and the (then) Soviet Union. He served on the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Committee of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Judicial Ethics Committee of the ABA. Among his accomplishments was a certificate in judicial studies from the National Judicial College and the completion of a study of the judiciary at Oxford University, England. In his devotion to his calling and his participation in study opportunities and professional meetings, Lawrence aspired to serve with integrity, humanity and fairness as a lawyer and a judge.

Posted on April 3, 2019 by Rhys Saunders
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