Leonore Rae Smith of Pacific Palisades died at home on June 23 after 99 years of a remarkable life.
She was a woman of strength and independent thought, and enriched the lives of all who knew her.
She was everyone’s mother: A unique combination of beauty, intelligence, talent, generosity, energy, compassion and good will.
Leonore was born in Chicago in 1918 and moved to Midland, Texas as a young girl when her father decided to purchase a cattle ranch. He later went on to become mayor of Midland for four terms of office.
At around 14 years of age, she moved back to Chicago with her family and continued her art and music studies there. She received a scholarship to study art with John Storrs in Paris after her abilities in painting and sculpting were discovered. However, due to family illness, she stayed home to continue with her education there. After college, she went on to a successful career on Broadway and with the Metropolitan Opera.
Leonore made productive use of her prodigious talents and skills. Over her lifetime, she was a professional artist, award-winning painter, sculptor, teacher, opera singer, Broadway actress, and seeker of wisdom and spirituality.
She was a selfless humanitarian, always giving to those in need. The last few years of her painting career were dedicated to painting and donating portraits of fallen soldiers to their families. Her commissioned portraits and landscapes hang in government offices, museums, galleries and sophisticated collections around the world.
She held the family together by sheer force of will and a love so all-encompassing that none of her family members could bear to move away from her.
In her last weeks on this earth, she was continuously surrounded by several generations of devoted family.
Although she was preceded into Heaven by her husband of 71 years, Paul C. Smith, she is survived by daughters, Jill (Richard) and Laurie (Paul), by grandchildren, Grant (Kelly), Kelly (Judson), Kathryn (Michael), Daniel, and Elizabeth, and by great-grandchildren, Emma, Levi, Elise, Julia, Charlotte, Mia and Violet. She is also survived by her sister, Nancy, and nieces, Diane, Dale and Dina.
Her departure has left a hole in our hearts, which can never be filled, but we take solace in the fact that she has been reunited with her beloved husband and has doubtless taken a starring role in the heavenly choir. She will always be remembered as our angel on earth and our love for her will last to the end of time.