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Celebrating The Life Of

Lisa Smith

March 29, 1943 - December 31, 2020

Lisa's Playlist

Flower Composition

Please consider making a donation to:

Doctors Without Borders

In lieu of flowers

Image by Wolfgang Hasselmann


Susan Lisa Smith passed away December 31st, 2020, at her home in California.

She was born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1943; grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and moved to the United States at the tender age of 15 to complete her education.

After assimilating to life in the US, she attended Sarah Lawrence College in New York and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965. Fresh from graduation, she married David Smith, whom she’d known since her school days in Argentina, and moved to Menlo Park, California, where she had her son Adrian in 1967. Lisa and David eventually divorced, and in 1969 Lisa and Adrian settled in Clairemont, California, where she balanced being a single mother with going to graduate school and working at a hip clothing boutique called The Garden of Eden. By the end of the 1970s, she’d completed her master’s degree; obtained her Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor license; and started her own successful psychotherapy practice in Downtown San Diego.

In the late 1980s, she took a break from her professional life and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to immerse herself in the city’s art and culture. She returned to San Diego in 1989 to continue her counseling practice and to remain close to her parents, Paul and Joyce Wallin, whom she cared for until the time of both their deaths in 1996 and 2003 respectively.

Always identifying as a citizen of the world, Lisa’s international travels included, among others, visits to Spain, France, and return trips to Bolivia and her beloved Argentina.

In 2008, she moved to the home in northern San Diego where she would spend the rest of her life, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean she treasured so deeply. She continued her decades-long commitment as a passionate activist for national political issues and social justice. And as a lifelong aficionado of the arts, she attended theater productions, symphonies, and gallery exhibits in between gobbling up books from the Rancho Santa Fe Library faster than it could provide them.

Lisa retired from her counseling career in 2015 and devoted her time to taking global studies courses and mentoring international students at the University of California San Diego, both of which she continued right up to within months of her passing.

She received a breast cancer diagnosis in 2018, and after several effective lumpectomy procedures it returned at Stage IV level in 2020. Lisa chose to forgo any aggressive treatment and to live out her remaining time having as many authentic experiences as possible, never wanting to have her diagnosis affect those around her. She also didn’t want to spend her final days in a hospital or hooked up to any machines. On New Year’s Eve 2020, she completed her journey on those terms. Her son was by her side.

Lisa will be remembered for the help and guidance she provided for countless therapy patients, her independent spirit, her compassion and activism, her vibrant curiosity, her joy in talking with people from all walks of life, her passion for art and literature, and the love she had for her parents, friends, and family.

She is survived by her son, Adrian Smith, of Tucson, Arizona; her brother, Dick Wallin, of Denver, Colorado; and her brother, Peter Wallin, of Key Biscayne, Florida.

Committal of ashes will be in El Camino Memorial Park, San Diego, California. In lieu of flowers, her family asks that donations be made in her memory to the non-profit charity, Doctors Without Borders.


Guest Book

Image by Andrzej Kryszpiniuk

Photo Gallery

Memories of Lisa Smith with her family and friends

Guest Book
Photo Gallery
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