Leonard S. Smith, 81

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Dr. Leonard S. Smith, 81, Thousand Oaks, Calif., formerly of Stanton, died Aug. 8, 2013, at his home.

Leonard was born June 23, 1932, in Sterling, Ill. to Rev. A. Leonard and Pearl (Peterson) Smith. He was raised in Stanton from 1934-1949. The family moved and he graduated high school in Spencer. He attended two years at Luther Junior College in Wahoo, Neb.

Just a few months after he graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.  in 1954, he was drafted into the U.S. Army for two years. He was stationed in Germany where he learned the German language and became interested in German history and culture. After completing an M.A. degree in history from the University of Iowa in 1958, he taught history at Luther College in Decorah.

While in Decorah, Leonard married Sharon Faye Ronning, who was an instructor in Physical Education.

Leonard was granted a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Germany and then received his Ph.D in History at Washington University in St. Louis. Leonard served as a professor of history at California Lutheran College from 1969 until his retirement in 1998.

In 2009, he published a life-work called “Religion and the Rise of History: Martin Luther and the Cultural Revolution in Germany, 1760 to 1810.” This was followed in 2011 by an essay called “Martin Luther’s Two Ways of Viewing Life and the Educational Foundation of a Lutheran Ethos.”

In addition to traveling, he enjoyed his community involvement, which centered on the activities and programs of the Scandinavian American cultural and Historical Foundation at California Lutheran, the Democratic Club and the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Clayton Smith.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon (Ronning) Smith of Thousand Oaks; three sons, Eric (Sherrie) Smith, Kirk (Chris) Smith and Sander (Connie) Smith; one daughter, Kirstin (Vaughan) Kastor; four grandchildren, Carson and Rhianna Smith and Brooks and Micaela Kastor; a brother, Rev. Dr. Carlyle (Sharon) Smith of Surprise, Ariz.; a sister, Eleanor (Smith) Hallquist of Stanton; many nieces, nephews and friends.

Services for Leonard were at Trinity Lutheran Church, Thousand Oaks, Saturday, Aug. 24. His full obituary can be read at www.legacy.com.