Larry L. Smith, 72, dies

Columbus, OH — Larry L. Smith, 72, died Feb. 4, 2022.

He was born on April 14, 1949, the eldest son of Malcolm and Dorothy (Chopp). He was a hard worker from a young age, working on the family farm and in the grape vineyards. Following graduation from Plainwell High School, he served his country in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971. After returning home, he married Glenda and they were blessed with two daughters, Sheila and Tracey.

Mr. Smith trained to be a certified farrier and blacksmith and was skilled at his craft. He was a trusted blacksmith working all over the state of Michigan. He raced ponies before graduating to Standardbred racing. He had many memorable horses and drives over the years. He set, and still holds, multiple track records around the state. He was part of a rare triple dead heat with Skyway Jaylo in 2018.

He traveled to many states to race and gained many friends; among those were Ed and Penny Brown who were close friends and stablemates for many years.

Mr. Smith was inducted into the Michigan Harness Horseman Hall of Fame in 2011.

In 2005, he married Sue and gained two more daughters, Heather and Beth. Larry and Sue enjoyed 16 loving years together. They also enjoyed racing and riding horses, drives to watch the sunset and being with their grandkids.

Mr. Smith was a very proud papa. Since their papa had a big tractor and took them for rides his grandchildren referred to him lovingly as Papa Tractor. He doted on them and talked about them with his friends, played very loud music and made sure his grandkids knew he would catch a “Grenade” for them. He enjoyed watching them play sports, took them hunting and fishing and even shared a birthday with one of them. Papa Tractor taught them the true meaning of hard work, what “man hands” looked like, and to be kind to others. He would always tell them “Can’t never did anything.”

If you couldn’t find him working with horses or attending an event for his grandkids, you could find him on the golf course. He was also an avid hunter who enjoyed sharing his love of the outdoors with his grandchildren. He enjoyed a big bowl of popcorn or ice cream for an evening treat. After fair races, he would share his love of chocolate covered cherry flurries and fries with vinegar and “just a little” salt with whoever came along.

Mr. Smith leaves behind his loving wife, Sue; children, Sheila (Rob) Sarro, Tracey (Jeff) Bryant, Heather (Lamar) Cain and Beth (Matthew) McRae; grandchildren, Robert Sarro, Sam Sarro, Savana Sarro, Liam Bryant, Lilyana Cain, Lauryn Cain, Siaara McRae and Asher McRae; siblings, Terrie Lynn, Robin (Jim), Bob (Malissia), Victor (Jodi), Mary (Randy), Larry Joe (Suzanne), Sheryl and Barb (Dan); as well as many nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Gary.

When remembering him, many will think of the V of his race colors, white, and gold and green (especially those behind him in the races). We will miss his charismatic personality, his laugh, his smile, but most of all when he hugged you, he hugged you!

According to his wishes, cremation has taken place.

Friends may visit with Larry’s family from 5-8 p.m., Wednesday (Feb. 16), at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego. Dress will be casual.

Memorial contributions may be made to the MHHA Scholarship Fund.

Messages of condolence may be posted at

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