About LF Smith...the school
The construction of LF Smith Elementary School was completed in the early spring of 1959 and occupied by 303 students and eleven teachers in grades one through six in March of 1959. Honored guests at the school’s dedication in December of 1959 included V.W. Miller, Superintendent of Schools, George Thompson, Deputy Superintendent, along with relatives and family members of the LF Smith family. The school had an average enrollment of 424 students that first full school year in 1959-1960.
The school’s first principal was Viola Pearson, who served in this capacity for 15 years until her resignation in 1971. The second principal was Jonah Boyd, a native of Pasadena. Mr. Boyd served as principal until his death in 1995 when Marsha Jones took over. She continued as principal at LF Smith until December of 2005 when she left to open Rick Schneider Middle School. The current principal of LF Smith Elementary is Cathy Danna.
The original school building had twenty-six classrooms. In 1963, a west wing was added to the building, providing an additional nine classrooms. A library and additional office space were completed in 1969. A maxiquad unit which houses seven additional classrooms was added for the 04-05 school year.
From 424 students enrolled during the school’s first year in 1959-196, the student membership reached a high average of 892 students in 1964-1965. For the 2007-2008 school year, enrollment averaged about 857 students.
About LF Smith...the man
Louis F. “Greasy” Smith was born in approximately 1878. He died at the age of 78 after living a very adventurous life. During his lifetime, Mr. Smith served as the mayor of South Houston, he was on the school board for Pasadena Independent School District, and served on the school board for South Houston. He did this in spite of having only an eighth grade education.
He was known as the “wizard of South Houston” because he loved to invent things. During his lifetime he held more than 40 patents for his inventions. He also laid claim to building and flying the first airplane in Texas. As a youngster, LF Smith worked on railroad engines. This is how he got the nickname “Greasy.” According to newspaper reporter Sig Byrd, “Greasy Smith drove fast cars in horse-and-buggy days. He built and flew airplanes while the automobile was still a novelty. He designed and built dozens of intricate automatic industrial machines, saved the life of a judge, explored the mountain ranges of the West, started Charley Steen off as a uranium prospector, invented the first electrically-controlled variable-pitch airplane propeller, designed and manufactured a portable drilling rig that is still the last word in baby drills, handled difficult government war-supply contracts, reared five children, and earned the profound respect and admiration of everybody who (knew) him even slightly, and the love of all of us who (knew) him well.” It is an honor to work and attend the school named after LF Smith!