By Jill Adair
Darrell F. Smith, Arizona’s only LDS attorney general and a longtime local leader in the Church, died in June. He was 86.
“Darrell was truly a man without guile,” said his wife of 62 years, Marjorie. “He loved everyone and was a builder of men, always finding the best in others and encouraging them to work hard and stay true to their covenants.”
At an early age, Brother Smith’s father died and he was raised by a single mother with four children. It was by her example that he learned to work hard and serve others.
He began his own life of service while in the U.S. Navy during World War II and, then, as a full-time missionary to California.
He graduated from Dixie College and moved to Washington, DC. There, he met his sweetheart, Marjorie Ann Hill. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1951. They lived in DC, and he attended the American University Law School, receiving his law degree in 1956.
He continued to serve in the Naval Reserves and passed the bar exam in 1957. The Smiths had three children—Wendy, Becky and Kevin—in DC
In 1958 they moved to Mesa, where two more children – Karen and Teresa – were born.
Brother Smith practiced law in Arizona for more than 50 years, starting in the county attorney’s office and then opening his own practice. He was elected state Attorney General in 1965 and won a re-election for a second term. He was instrumental in passing consumer protection laws that are still in place today.
He also served in the Church, as a Scout leader, branch president on the San Tan Indian Reservation, bishop twice and counselor in the Mesa West Stake presidency. In 1981, Brother Smith, along with his wife, was called to preside over the England Birmingham Mission. Sister Smith recalls that he politely declined an offer to oversee Indian affairs under President Ronald Reagan because it came shortly after his call to England. He later served as stake patriarch.
“Dad always had a passion for missionary work; he loved the gospel,” said his youngest daughter, Teresa Smith Starr. “Along with his family, the gospel of Jesus Christ was his greatest treasure…this knowledge filled him with joy and he wanted to share the gospel message with people everywhere – and he did.”
Other family members remember him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend, saying that he lived a life of Christ-like charity and service and was known for his integrity, honor and ever-cheerful and positive disposition.
Brother Smith is survived by Marjorie; their five children: Wendy Shelley (Mark), Becky Woolf (James), Kevin Smith (Denise), Karen Speakman Vance (Blaine), Teresa Starr (Rick); foster daughter, Sylvia Laughter; 28 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.