Golf wasn't just Loyd Smith's hobby, it was a part of his life. Those who knew him best remember the way his presence on the golf course brightened his life.
Smith was the City of Fairfax police chief from 1980 to 1993 — the longest tenure of any Fairfax City chief. He golfed throughout his life, even when things got tough because of his deteriorating health. He died of congestive heart failure, Thursday, May 24, at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.
Those who knew him well remember his humble demeanor and selfless attitude. His wife of 21 years, Lynn Smith, said her husband was always so caring, to the point that her happiness could dictate his.
"You couldn’t ask for a better husband," said Lynn Smith. "He was extremely loyal and faithful. He showed all of the virtues that you would want in somebody."
From his honesty and generosity, to his compassion, those who loved him are struggling with his loss.
"Loyd was a kind, caring human being," said John Bowles, a close friend of Loyd Smith’s for nearly 50 years. "He always thought of other people above himself."
HAVING RISEN SWIFTLY through the Washington, D.C. police ranks, said Billy Smith, his oldest son, he never gloated in his own success.
"Loyd Smith wasn’t impressed with himself, but just about everyone else was," said Robert Sisson, Fairfax city manager, at Smith’s funeral at the Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, Friday, June 1.
Loyd Smith retired from the D.C. police department in 1980 as deputy police chief. He took just one week off before coming to the City of Fairfax as police chief. He worked hard to get the department nationally accredited during a time when "not many departments were," said Sisson. "Loyd made sure Fairfax was one of the first."
"He was extremely proud of that," said Brian Smith, the youngest of his biological children.
The city’s first motorcycle unit, traffic safety unit, traffic safety commission and citizens advisory council were all established under Loyd Smith, said Sisson. During his 33 years as a police officer in both Washington and Fairfax, Loyd Smith always found time for his passion: golf.
"He was a good sportsman from childhood," said Bowles, who said he enjoyed the competitive nature he shared with his friend. "Loyd liked the challenge."
Loyd Smith’s four sons, Billy, Brian and Gary, and his stepson, JR Fioriti, said their father was a wonderful man. They chuckled as they remembered some of the times they spent together. They recalled his love for music, and most importantly, the love he had for his children. Their father was a man they admired and dearly loved, and Loyd Smith knew it.
Loyd Smith wrote down some of his personal reflections on Thursday, May 17, and entitled it, "Funeral Notes."
"I’m very proud of the fact that as my life has played out … all of my children, natural and step, like me as a person," wrote Loyd Smith.
He gave his children no reason to feel any other way. Lynn Smith said he always treated her two children, JR Fioriti and Marta Fioritti-Butts, as if they were his own. He had his only daughter, Marta Fioritti-Butts, on the ball teams, and he went to her music recitals, said Lynn Smith.
Gary Smith remembered when his father took him to a KISS concert when he was 11-years-old. Loyd Smith hated the band, but the group was his son’s favorite. He rented a skybox at the June 7, 1979, show.
"I’ll never forget that he did that," said Gary Smith, his son.
Loyd Smith’s grandchildren never forgot the way their grandfather helped them celebrate birthdays either. He would take them to a children’s store of some kind and let them pick out whatever present they wanted, said Bethany Smith, 16.
LOYD SMITH could be a terrible disciplinarian though, said Lynn Smith. He hated saying no to his children, "because he was so kind." Lynn Smith remembers a time when he came home from work one evening to his family sitting at the dinner table. He stated that the garbage needed to go out, and they agreed. Later on, when he realized nobody bothered to take it out, he wondered why nobody had listened to him. It was because he never gave any direct orders around the house. "He would leave that up to me," said Lynn Smith.
Fioriti said he never really thought of Loyd Smith as a stepfather. Loyd Smith coached his baseball team, taught him how to shoot a basketball and talked to him about life and the world, remembers Fioriti.
"He was always there for me, and he didn’t have to be," he said. "If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be who I am now."
Loyd Smith married Fioriti’s mother, Lynn Smith, in 1986. Fioriti said his stepfather would do anything for his mother. "He just wanted her to be happy."
He was married to his first wife and the mother of his three natural children, Marjorie, for 26 years. She died of leukemia on Sept. 19, 1985.
Loyd Smith was a romantic man, said Lynn Smith. He always sent flowers to her office on Valentine’s Day and her birthdays. She said her husband never forgot a birthday, and he always gave her a heartfelt card. She remembers the "pyramid of kisses" that he included in every card. He drew an upside-down triangle "full of kisses," she said.
"He was always there," said Lynn Smith. "He loved me very much. Even in his last days, he would call out to me to tell me he loved me."
She remembers the times when he would sing to her with his guitar. He always loved music, and after retirement, he learned to play the guitar. His favorite music was country and church music. "The kind of church music you grow up with," said Lynn Smith.
At Loyd Smith’s funeral, Don Bryant, his friend of more than 40 years, played a song on Loyd Smith’s guitar to honor his friend. Bryant said they were like brothers. The two had golfed together from Maryland to Florida, and in Colorado.
"He was brilliant," said Bryant.
LOYD SMITH’S PASSION for golf and competition was obvious to anyone who knew him, said Bowles. The friends had an ongoing joke with their colleagues in the Washington police department. "We challenged any two other policemen to any game with a ball," wrote Loyd Smith in his "Funeral Notes."
"Everyone wanted to challenge the Loyd and John show," said Bowles.
And while he was competitive in sports and ambitious in his career, he always remained humble.
"He just thought of himself as a regular guy," said Brian Smith.
But he wasn’t just a regular guy. He was honest, caring and loyal, above and beyond the natural call of duty, said Bowles.
"Loyd was someone I was proud to call my friend," said Bowles.
"I was not fortunate enough to have a brother in my life, but God took care of that with Loyd."
"Nobody could have asked for a better friend," wrote Loyd Smith, in "Funeral Notes." "I cherish the relationship."
Loyd Smith also took pleasure in telling humorous stories, said Sisson. His sense of humor was dry, "but you got the point," said Bowles. His friends remembered that he often told the same story several times, but the humor was never lost.
Sisson said Loyd Smith impressively graduated summa cum laude from American University’s law enforcement school in 1975, all while working full-time with the Washington police department and raising three toddlers with his wife, Marjorie. Bowles said he was one of the most knowledgeable police officials he had ever worked with or known.
He also met several presidents while on duty as a Washington police officer. He worked the inaugurations of both John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter, and he was on duty at the National Mall during Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech.
Loyd Smith was born in Carabelle, Fla., a small Gulf Coast town in the panhandle, near Tallahassee. He frequently visited Mount Dora, Fla., a small Central Florida town near Orlando. Lynn Smith said her husband just loved the quaint town, and they bought a condominium there. Loyd Smith requested that his family spread his ashes there, on Lake Dora. Their condo has a view of the lake, so Loyd Smith knew that Lynn would be able to look out and find comfort in knowing he’s out there, she said.
"He was the greatest man I’ve ever known," said Brian Smith.