Laura Mindick Smith, world traveler, life-long reader and constant beacon of light and joy, has passed away at the age of 93. To her over seventy year marriage to her soulmate Alan, her three daughters Linda Smith, Deborah Criswell and Pamela Beckerman, multiple grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends, she brought an infectious enthusiasm for all life had to offer along with a firm grounding in the moral values of humanity and caring. As the mother of three daughters, Laura instilled in her girls that they were capable of doing anything they wanted to do, unimpeded by considerations of the more traditional roles of girls. As the teacher of young children, she gave them a thirst for learning. And in her role in countless organizations, she led with energy and vision.
Laura was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, attended the University of Vermont where in the first days of her freshman year she met Alan and fell in love. They lived originally in Burlington, Vermont, then Syracuse, New York, before succumbing to the allure of the winterless seasons and oceanside vistas of Santa Barbara, California.
Together Laura and Alan traveled the world, visiting 46 states and 96 countries on all seven continents. With her zest for adventure, Laura has ridden a camel in Petra, an ostrich in Kruger National Park, an elephant in Thailand and traveled by submarines, helicopters, gondolas, ocean liners, canoes, hot air balloons, zillen, white water rafts and when in icy Antarctica by zodiac.
When not exploring the planet, Laura had a firm commitment to justice and the arts in Santa Barbara, serving for a year first on the Santa Barbara County and then on the US civil grand jury, founding the Women’s Division of the United Jewish Appeal of Santa Barbara, and serving as one of the founding members of Opera Santa Barbara and a docent for the Santa Barbara Jewish Foundation. In her “spare” time, Laura, a voracious reader, was part of the Brandeis University Women’s Club and the Montecito Library Group and a Masters Bridge Player. And. after planning the bat mitzvahs of her three daughters decades before, Laura finally had her own bat mitzvah in 2007 at Congregation B’nai B’rith in Santa Barbara.
Until struck with dementia at 89, Laura seized every day and as Emile Zola so aptly put it “lived her life out loud.” Her memory is a blessing to all who had the privilege of knowing her. Her energy and her spirit live on.