Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | L. Garry Smith

Tampa civic leader L. Garry Smith dies

L. Garry Smith, former chief of staff to then-Gov. Bob Graham and a prominent Tampa civic leader, died Wednesday morning from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was 81.

Mr. Smith was a "role model of integrity" whose creativity helped propel Graham's campaign when he was last in the polls, the former governor said.

"He was a humble person who did not attempt to get at the front of the line or in front of the camera," Graham said, "but did his job in a very conscientious and intelligent manner."

Graham first met him while Mr. Smith was involved in the Tampa Model Cities Program, a housing and urban development program started in the late 1960s. Mr. Smith had just successfully managed Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in Louisiana when Graham persuaded him to manage his campaign for governor in the late 1970s, he said.

"It was more a matter of me trying to sell him instead of vice versa," Graham said. "My prospects weren't too encouraging, but he agreed to take it on. Eighteen months later, we were elected."

Mr. Smith was born Dec. 11, 1932, in Tampa. He attended Hillsborough High School, where he played football, and the University of Tampa. Former Mayor Dick Greco, who had been friends with Mr. Smith since they were children, recalled that he had always been interested in politics. Mr. Smith worked on the campaigns of Greco and former Mayor William Poe, plus those of some County Commission candidates.

"He helped in many campaigns. He believed in politics, he knew the people he was helping well and he would do anything for them," Greco said. "He was always my very, very dear friend."

Mr. Smith later became an investment banker. Greco appointed Mr. Smith to the Tampa Sports Authority in 1999.

Mr. Smith also founded the Boys and Girls Club at the Mary Help of Christians Center in Tampa. He spent two years in foster care as a child, said his daughter Sheri Bryan, 52, of Tallahassee.

"He thought it was so important to give back and have a place for kids in the same situation he was in to have a safe place to go to learn, study and have support," she said.

A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 509 N Florida Ave. Blount & Curry Funeral Homes is handling arrangements.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

>> Biography

L. Garry Smith

Born: Dec. 11, 1932

Died: June 4, 2014

Survivors: wife Mavis Smith; daughters Julie Myers, Cathy Brockmeier, Lori Branham and Sheri Bryan; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Tampa civic leader L. Garry Smith dies 06/04/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 11:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest

    Health

    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]
  2. Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian election meddling has requested extensive records and email correspondence from the White House, covering the president's private discussions about firing his FBI director and his response to news that the then-national security adviser was under …

    In a photograph provided by the Russian foreign ministry, President Donald Trump meets with Sergei Lavrov, left, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, May 10, 2017. Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in this meeting, where Trump said dismissing FBI Director James Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him, the New York Times reported on Sept. 20. [Russian Foreign Ministry via  New York Times]
  3. 'We will find our island destroyed': Hurricane Maria demolishes Puerto Rico

    News

    SAN JUAN — Sleepless Puerto Ricans awoke Wednesday knowing to expect a thrashing from the most ferocious storm to strike the island in at least 85 years. They met nightfall confronting the ruin Hurricane Maria left behind: engorged rivers, blown-out windows, sheared roofs, toppled trees and an obliterated electric …

    Rescue vehicles from the Emergency Management Agency stand trapped under an awning during the impact of Hurricane Maria, after the storm  hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria has lost its major hurricane status, after raking Puerto Rico. But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by Thursday. [Carlos Giusti | Associated Press]
  4. Obamacare repeal bill offers flexibility and uncertainty

    Politics

    The latest Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act would grant states much greater flexibility and all but guarantee much greater uncertainty for tens of millions of people.

  5. Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign, report says

    Nation

    Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports.

    Paul Manafort, then Donald Trump's campaign chairman, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. [Associated Press]