Born Lillian Marie Ryan in Kansas City, Missouri, March 26, 1946, Lulu Smith died at home in Lakebay surrounded by family April 22. She was 76. She was blessed with four children who continued to bless her with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved dearly.
Lulu got her start in the restaurant business “at age 14 working as a soda jerk at Woolworth’s” in her Kansas City home town. From there she worked many years in food service and eventually became the owner-operator of Lulu’s Restaurant and Lounge on McKinley Avenue in Tacoma. After 10 years there, she decided to build her own restaurant from the ground up in Lakebay and the beloved Lulu’s Homeport was born.
Always willing to help, Lulu earned a stellar reputation by supporting the community she loved. She held fundraisers to benefit local schools. She hosted annual Christmas present giveaways and Easter egg hunts for kids. She gave free meals to Evergreen Elementary School students who achieved their academic goals.
Lulu shined in times of crisis. When the infamous winter ice storm of 1996 took out electricity for weeks for most KP residents, the Homeport still had power. She and the kitchen staff worked around the clock to help feed a cold and hungry community.
She was named Key Peninsula Citizen of the Year in 1998.
Fiercely loyal, Lulu had a unique way of making people feel special while her strength of character ensured she never shied away from telling people where she stood. No stranger to tragedy, she was a survivor. She persevered. She was genuine.
Lulu leaves behind family and friends who love her deeply and joins many friends and family members who have passed.
A celebration of life was held May 21 at the Key Peninsula Civic Center in Vaughn.
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