In Memory

Steven C Smith - Class Of 1965

Steven Smith, born December 11, 1946, died April 24, 2011 in Reno, Nevada.  He was 64.

Steve was a successful newspaper reporter, beginning with the Los Angeles Times and ending with his award-winning investigative series for the Seattle Times on the Green River Killer.  He and his writing partner were 1988 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting.  He then developed a successful career researching and writing more than 20 true-crime books.  He was interested in politics, current affairs, and sports; a consummate story-teller, reader and a philosophical thinker.  He loved nothing more than a free-wheeling discussion on a variety of topics with many people with divergent viewpoints.  He will be missed by all who knew him.

Steve is survived by his sister Martha Smith Troedson '61; and brothers Randy Smith '69, and David Smith '72.

Martha Smith Troedson '61, Sister


Steven Carlton Smith, formerly of South Pasadena, passed away April 24 in Reno, Nevada.  Steve was the son of the late Jack and Phyllis Smith and attended local schools, graduating from SPHS in 1965.  He graduated from Whitman College with a degree in history but his interest soon turned to journalism.  He was hired by the Los Angeles Times and honed his writing skills as a writer for the San Gabriel Valley and the Orange County editions of the Times.  He was assigned many feature stories in the main edition as well.

In the 1980s, Steve became an investigative reporter for the Seattle Times, using his middle name, Carlton.  He and his writing partner wrote a series of articles following up on the search for the Green River Killer in Seattle, and were nominated as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.  Subsequently, they wrote a book about the subject which became a bestselling true crime title.  Following that success, Steve used his investigative skills to research and write more than 20 best-selling true crime books.

Steve is survived by his sister Martha Troedson (Darryl) of Sierra Madre, and brothers Randy, of San Juan Capistrano, and David (Ann), of Sedona, Arizona, sister-in-law Marcia Smith, Cambria, California, and five nieces and nephews.  He was interested in politics, current affairs, and sports; a consummate story-teller, reader, and philosophical thinker.  He will be greatly missed.

Pasadena Star-News and South Pasadena Review

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05/01/11 01:41 PM #1    

Pamela Davis (Kensinger) (1965)

Steve was a wonderful friend in high school.  I was always impressed with his ability to be true to himself no matter what.  His uniqueness inspired me to become more accepting.  His words will remain forever as will his memory.

Pam (Davis) Kensinger '65


05/28/11 04:50 PM #2    

Loren Scott Shumer (1965)

Steve was my closest friend in high school.  I met him when we were sophomores on the track team; he also ran cross country.  As our friendship grew, I recognized that he was bound for success.  He was personable, out going, had a gift for talking, and had an inquisitive mind.

On New Year's Eve, Steve, Michael (the foreign exchange student living with the Smiths), and I went to the UA theater in Pasadena and saw "The Scalphunters, starring Burt Lancaster.  Years later, Steve was surprised that I could recall that film.  I responded by saying it was because I was with a good friend.  Steve was probably my biggest "booster" as it pertained to my playing football.  No matter how many years had passed, Steve always was able to recall some moment that occured during a game which I had forgotten.

It was an obvious mistake on my part to attend UC Berkeley as a freshman, but Steve said nothing about that decision, encouraging me to the fullest.  When I transferred to PCC, Steve was one of the first to say categorically that I would have a "break out" sophomore year...that my age (I was 16 my senior year at SPHS) would now be negated.  He was, of course, correct in his assessment; we played in the Junior Rose Bowl game, and I had a very successful season.

We kept in touch throughout the years. I followed his journalism and writing career; he would ask about my teaching and coaching.  As the years continued, I grew to respect him more and more.  He was the genuine article: always concerned about his fellow man and wouldn't hurt a fly, let alone another human being. He was one of the truly good guys of the world.

I'm not sure which class reunion it was, but I wasn't sure if I would go, and, as it turned out, neither was Steve.  When we finally talked a few months before the reunion, he told me if I went, he would make the trip from San Francisco to attend also.  Needless to say, we were both there and never missed another one.  No matter where the reunions were held, Steve was the first person I sought to find.

He came to our house for dinner one time and regaled my wife, Jo, and I with several of his stories (Steve had more than his share as a writer for the LA Times, the Seattle Times, and his writing career).  The hours flew by all too quickly that night.  One other time, when he found out I was coaching at Citrus College, he wanted to attend one of the practices.  Afterwards we had a dinner together at a nearby restaurant.  Once again, he recalled moments when we were at SPHS as well as what I had done in football.  I was far more interested in hearing about his latest project and just plain enjoying his company with a long time friend.

One specific moment is etched indelibly in my mind.  We were at one of our class reunions, Steve was with a few of our classmates, and the conversation finally turned to his latest endeavor, the murder trial of Phil Spectre.  Steve had been researching this case for several months; I knew he had already put in many, many hours of scrutinizing the case and would be considered an expert on this case.  One of the other classmates stated that Steve was wrong about some aspect and then proceeded to tell the others his take on the subject.  I just looked on in amazement as the scene unfolded, yet Steve seemed to be unfazed by what was going on.  Later I asked him why he didn't assert himself; he just looked at me with his trademark smile and simply said that he didn't want to embarrass the guy by refuting him and pointing out the errors.  As I wrote, Steve wouldn't and couldn't hurt anyone.

I last saw Steve at our last class reunion, and as usual, we were pleased to see one another and caught up on old times.  I am greatful that I could call Steven Carlton Smith one of my dear friends.  I shall miss him.

08/21/11 08:00 PM #3    

Randall 'Randy' L. Smith (1969)

Loren.....many, many thanks for your kind words about our brother and your friend.

Randy Smith

SPHS '69



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