Funeral Services for The Community Times Publisher Larry D. Smith

October 30, 2023

“It’s not where you start, but where you finish,” Larry D. Smith (January 12, 2023)

Mr. Larry D. Smith departed this life peacefully on the evening of Sunday, October 22, 2023 surrounded by his loving family.

Larry Darnell Smith, (“Lawrence”, “Smitty”, “Mr. Larry”) was born on August 31, 1953, in Wilmington, North Carolina, to Geneva Green and Otto Charles Smith, Sr. Larry was an activist, advocate, leader, and booming voice for the community. No one can dispute the fact he was a visionary. He demonstrated that fact many times over, proving that a prophet can achieve success at home.

Larry was raised in Columbia, South Carolina, by his mother, Geneva, and Stepfather, Henry James Montgomery. Larry was educated in the public schools of Richland County, South Carolina, and graduated from A.C. Flora High School, Class of 1971, graduated from Benedict College, Class of 1979, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.

Larry was baptized at an early age and was a member of Central Baptist Church, and attended Unionville A.M.E. Church in Mayesville, South Carolina.

Larry created his first publication in 1983, Grapevine Magazine. His goal was to provide information on politics, self-help, and economic development as it relates to the Black community. He continued to provide the same type of information for 40 years to a broader African American audience and an expanded reading community.

During his more than 40 years of service, Larry operated business units in all 46 counties of South Carolina. Smith's previous assignments included writer/editor, Local Sales/Account Executive, Design/Layout, Single Copy Sales Manager, Bulk Sales Manager, Promotional Manager, Director of Church Relations, and Director of Government Affairs.

Larry was a graduate of Leadership Florence and completed training for the Board of National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in Washington, D.C.

Larry's community education included being a foot soldier in Columbia, South Carolina, under James Redfern II. Each weekend, the group of 15- and 16-year-olds marched on Columbia City Hall and the South Carolina State Capital. As a young college student, Larry participated in the largest civil rights protest in the history of South Carolina, where over 50,000 people from across the state marched to demand a state holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Later in life, Larry drove a vanload of young college students from Francis Marion University to Washington, D.C., to participate in the "Million Man March."

Larry continued to work for the economically challenged in South Carolina and across the nation until his last breath. He continued to use his media company as a platform to address the concerns of people of all races who faced the everyday challenges of inadequate healthcare, underserved school systems, poor elected representation, voter suppression, equal rights, a criminal justice system designed to protect the wealthy, and limited access for small business to capital and opportunities.

He was preceded in death by his biological father, Otto Charles Smith, Sr.; his mother, Geneva Green Montgomery; his stepfather, Henry James Montgomery; Aunt, Beatrice Burgess; brother, Anthony James Montgomery; niece, Keisha Banks Barney; niece, Sonya Davis Lewis, and grand-nephew, Channing Banks.

Mr. Larry Darnell Smith leaves behind to cherish his memories and mourn his passing, his devoted wife, Diana Brunson Smith; sons, Quinton Darnell Smith (Rebecca) of Columbia, South Carolina, Eric Maurice Smith, of Florence, South Carolina; Nephew/(Like a Son) Julian West (Rena) of the U.S. Virgin Islands; grandchildren, Kayla Bryana Smith, Kaliyah Diane Smith both of Florence, South Carolina and Kameron Darnell Smith of Columbia, South Carolina brothers, Otto Charles Smith, Jr. (Marilyn) of Columbia, South Carolina, Kenneth Henry Montgomery (Barbara) of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and Wayne Douglas Montgomery (Lavonia) of Columbia, South Carolina; sisters, Carolyn Davis Baxley (Clarence) of Columbia, South Carolina, Bernice Stone Wells (James) of Columbia, South Carolina and Sheila Wallace (Sam) of Columbia, South Carolina.

Brothers-in-Law: Nathaniel Brunson (Geraldine) Willie L. Brunson (Gloria), both of Bishopville, South Carolina, and Charles Brunson (Lynn) of Columbia, South Carolina. Sisters-in-law: Dorothy Andrews of Blythwood, South Carolina; Georgia Wilson of Bishopville, South Carolina; Mary L. Saunders (Thomas) of Danville, Virginia; Elouise Gardner (Rayburn) of Bishopville, South Carolina and Toyeka Brunson of Lexington, South Carolina.

One beloved Uncle, George W. Green, Jr., of Columbia, South Carolina

Mr. Smith was a father figure to many, some of whom were very special: Rashmia Smith, Regina Douglas, and Julia Canty-Warrick. Godchildren, who took him as their “GrandPa”, Xaviar Alexander Canty and his sister Gabriel Warrick, of Laurel, Maryland.

A host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, numerous others of whom he mentored, loving relatives, and caring friends, all of whom will miss him dearly.

Homegoing services were entrusted to Leevy’s Funeral Home, Taylor Steet Chapel, 1831 Taylor Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201