“Rest in Peace Jozelle Smith”
Story courtesy of Marina Tidwell, Grace Lutheran Church
Born in Culver City, Calif. on June 20, 1939 to Joseph H. Lawless and Hazel M. Truschel, Jozelle passed away at her home in Culver City on August 18, 2023 with her family present. She had an active dad (Culver City businessman, Board of Education and City Council-member, Lions Club), and a stay-at-home mom.
Jozelle graduated from Culver City High School, Class of ’57, then spent a year as a Psychology major at UCLA, wearing the engagement ring that her husband-to-be, Ken Smith had given her. They were married on September 20th, 1958, at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in West Los Angeles by Reverend Richard Irons.
Ken and Jozelle have resided within five miles of where Jozelle was born for the rest of their married years (just short of 65).
Sons Paul and Garrett were born in 1965 and 1967. Jozelle spent several years in local part-time office jobs, followed by writing several “soft news” columns for years for our local newspapers. She felt so connected to what was going on in Our Town that she applied to and was appointed to a four-year term on the Culver City Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission in the late ‘70’s. She also enjoyed a two-year stint with the International Olympic Committee prior to the 1984 games.
Jozelle ran for the Culver City Council in 1986, finishing in first place (only the second woman ever elected). She served from 1986-1994 and was Mayor 1989-90. During her term she was appointed by both Governors Deukmejian and Wilson to the California Council on Criminal Justice; was president of the 88-member LA County Division of the League of California Cities; member of the Human Development Steering Committee of the National League of Cities and a member of the Transportation & Communications Committee of the Southern California Association of Governments.
Locally, Jozelle graduated from the city’s CERT (Citizens’ Emergency Response Team) training, as well as at the Citizens’ Police Academy. She actively served more than 40 years on the Culver Palms Family YMCA Board of Managers, including former Board Chair.
Local employment also included co-director of the Josephson Institute of Ethics’ “Character Counts!” program; Vice President of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce; and a grant writer for Netzel-Grigsby Associates. For the last 14 years she was employed as a non-union background actor in dozens of films, commercials and television shows.
Jozelle leaves behind family members Paul Smith, wife Joy and granddaughter Leilani, Garrett Smith and his wife Sara, grandson Shotaro and his fiancée Amy, great-grandson Liam, granddaughter Kanna and her husband Omar, great-grandson Ryder, great-granddaughter Rowyn, and many devoted friends.
Services will be held in September. An announcement of the date and time will be released when arrangements are finalized.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in Jozelle’s honor to Grace Diner: GraceDiner.org or in c/o Grace Lutheran Church, 4427 Overland Ave., Culver City 90230.
“There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone the light remains” — Unknown