Larue B. Smith, 93, passed away peacefully at her home in Goodyear, Ariz. June 6, 2015, with loving family members by her side. Born Jan. 8, 1922 at Ft. Thomas, Ariz., she was the third child of Ellen and Lloyd Ballard. LaRue grew to womanhood along the banks of the Gila River in Eden, Ariz., and in the shadow of majestic Mt. Graham. After graduating from Pima High School, she attended Eastern Arizona Junior College where she met and married her husband of 63 years, Kent Smith. After the end of WWII, the couple partnered with Kent's father, Jim Smith, purchasing the Cane Springs Ranch on the Big Sandy near Wikieup, Ariz., where they moved their small family in 1946. In the early 50s they bought a home "in town," living and schooling their children and, later, grandchildren in Kingman, while working 40 years on the Cane Springs. After selling and retiring from the ranch in the mid-80s, they eventually moved to Goodyear to be nearer to their daughter.
During her years in Kingman, LaRue was active in her church serving in the Women's Relief Society, as well as the Children's Primary organization. Her cooking and baking skills were widely appreciated, and her cookies, pies, cakes, and candies at Christmas and other holiday events were the envy of family and friends for miles around. She focused her efforts, for a time, on making wedding cakes and for many years pictures of her work were found in newspapers and magazines statewide. Brides-to-be stood in line for a chance to get one of her multi-tiered cakes made for them. She also kept many a hungry cowboy fed at the ranch with delicious food during roundup time and later they would shout their approval along the streets and sidewalks of Kingman whenever they saw her passing by, much to her embarrassment.
LaRue was preceded in death by her husband Kent, son Mike, grandson Ross Jr., sisters Louise (Black) and Flora Belle (Allen), and brother, Delmar Ballard. She is survived by her sons Ross (Karran) Smith (Mesa), Gary Smith (Mayfield, Utah), and daughter Karen (Sam) West of Goodyear. Her family includes four children, 17 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren. These numbers alone are a remarkable legacy of one who was called "granny" by most, but was a lovely mother to them all.
Services will be held in the old Central Ward Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, located at 2597 Church St., Central, AZ, on June 13, 2015. Family and friends may attend a viewing which will be from 9 to 11 a.m. with services beginning at 11:30 a.m. MST. Interment will be at the Central Cemetery, immediately following, with a small graveside remembrance service. Arrangements were placed under the care of Caldwell Funeral Home in Safford, Ariz.