Harry Lamborn Smith

SmithHarry Lamborn Smith, 98, on January 17, 2020, at Brittany Pointe Estates retirement community in Lansdale, Pa. Harry was born on August 16, 1921, at Abington Hospital in Abington, Pa., to Harry Taggert Smith and Mabel Alice Lamborn. Harry’s maternal grandmother was a strong influence during his childhood and early adulthood, contributing to Harry’s lifelong concern with social justice. He often visited her, riding his bicycle to her home in the La Mott neighborhood a few miles away. Bicycling between Glenside (where Harry lived) and his grandmother’s home took Harry past another favorite spot: Curtis Arboretum, to which he returned frequently to collect pinecones and feathers.

Harry’s family encountered staggering shocks during one week in 1937, when his sister, Alice, died suddenly of spinal meningitis at age 12, and brother, Freddy, contracted polio at age three.

After graduation from Cheltenham High School in 1939, Harry worked for Standard Pressed Steel Company (now known as SPS Technologies) in nearby Jenkintown, Pa. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps on December 8, 1941, immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Harry was assigned to various bases across the United States prior to being transferred overseas to India. Based in Karachi during his final 18 months, Harry completed four years of noncombatant service billeting soldiers throughout the China-Burma-India Theater.

Harry returned to Pennsylvania and SPS in 1945, where he met Alyse Reid. Alyse had joined SPS in her first job out of Peirce School of Business Administration (now Peirce College). Harry and Alyse married at her family home in Trevose, Pa., on June 5, 1948. The couple settled in a nearby apartment prior to building a home on what had formerly been an orchard located on the Reids’ property. Their acreage included resplendent stretches of pachysandra, which Harry nurtured and propagated.

Harry, Alyse, and their three children, Deborah, Steven, and Reid often traveled in Volkswagen Bug caravans, stopping frequently to pick up large rocks likely to fit into stone walls back home. When the family moved from their home near Hatboro, Pa., to Willow Grove, Pa., they joined Abington Meeting. The meeting’s community, traditions, and values became the bedrock of Harry’s beliefs and practice. He always did his best to discover and accomplish the right thing, and his sense of duty set an example for others. Harry was a perfect fit on the Property Committee. He participated in peace marches and vigils, and spoke in favor of providing shelter at the meetinghouse for a group of Native Americans who were demonstrating in Washington, D.C. Harry and Alyse’s dining room table symbolized warmth and welcome, encouraging candid talk and ready laughter.

Harry is survived by his wife, Alyse Reid Smith; three children, Deborah Smith Baker, Steven Smith, and Reid Smith; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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