LRC Board of Directors

LRC Board of Director Members:

  • Gay Smither, Co-Founder & President
  • Bob Smither, Co-Founder & Secretary
  • David Dannemiller, Treasurer
  • Pam Covington
  • Nancy Walker

Biographical Information - LRC Board of Directors

Co-Founder & President

Gay Smither was born in Harare, Zimbabwe on January 28, 1960. She attended Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, and Speech and Drama and a Post Graduate Teaching Certification Diploma in High School Education. Gay taught English at Highfield High School, Harare, Zimbabwe and she was the Head of the English Department.

She traveled extensively before settling in Texas where she married, becoming a naturalized American citizen. Gay is proud to call herself an African American! She became Corporate Secretary and Electronic Technician for Circuit Concepts, Inc. in 1986.

Volunteer work has always been important in Gay's life. She served as Girl Scout Leader for her daughter's troop for 7 years and as Consultant with the Friendswood Service Team of South Texas Girl Scout Council for 10 years. She was an active volunteer with her son's Boy Scouts of America troop, and with Armand Bayou Nature Center. She was a wildlife rehabilitator with Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education, specializing in owl rehabilitation. Currently, Gay is also very involved in several ministries at church, has served on the governing board and was commissioned as a Stephen's Minister in 2003.

Gay's focus in life changed on April 3rd, 1997 when her 12 year old daughter, Laura Kate Smither, was abducted and murdered in Texas. She and her husband Co-Founded the Laura Recovery Center - for missing children. Gay serves as President of the Board of Directors and is one of the speakers for the Foundation. She gives the family perspective talk at the Laura Recovery Center training course on child abduction for law enforcement at the Houston Police Department Training Academy.

In March 2002, Gay became a volunteer with Team H.O.P.E. (Help Offering Parents Empowerment). Team HOPE is a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In October 2002 she became a consultant to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a Team Captain for Team HOPE and continues in this position until 2006. Since 2006 she has been a consultant with Fox Valley Technical College, traveling the country giving the Family Perspective talk at law enforcement training on the issue of missing children. Gay was the national speaker for missing children in 2005, speaking for the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention for National Missing Children's Day in Washington DC.

Co-Founder & Secretary

Bob Smither was born in Texas on August 26, 1944. He attended the University of Houston where he received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. Bob worked for several companies in the Houston area before incorporating Circuit Concepts, Inc., an engineering consulting firm, in 1978. He has been president of Circuit Concepts, Inc. since that time.

Dr. Smither taught Electrical Engineering at the University of Houston for 13 years during which time he supervised master and Ph.D. students. He has made 13 technical presentations, authored 15 technical papers, and holds 19 patents. He is a member of several engineering and honor societies.

Bob was active with Armand Bayou Nature Center and served on the board of directors, was a volunteer with Boy Scouts of America, while his son was a member, and founded and is active with the Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society. He is a science and math teacher for Home Education Partnership, teaching courses to home school students.

After the abduction and murder of their daughter Laura Kate Smither Bob and his wife Gay, co-founded the Laura Recovery Center Foundation for missing children. He is an active volunteer with the Foundation and maintains the web site and computer resources.


David was born on Connecticut in 1957, but is Texan since 1970. David has a BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas. He has over twenty years experience in engineering and technical management. He was involved in development of the Space Shuttle rendezvous capability, was a Shuttle flight controller, was involved with early phases of the National Aerospace Plane, and managed 90 engineers who were responsible for all aspects of Space Shuttle ascent design and analysis. David is currently employed by
United States Space Alliance in the Flight Design & Dynamics Department.

David was involved in the search for Laura Smither as both a searcher and organizer. He is an active volunteer with the Foundation and currently serves as its treasurer.


Pam was born January 23, 1946, as a fifth generation Texan. She has been married to Earl G. Covington, an attorney, since 1967. She graduated high school at the American School Foundation in Mexico City and attended University of the Americas in the same city. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Houston, she continued her education at Sam Houston University receiving a Master of Arts (with thesis) in a dual major of English and Library Science. Through the years she has attended classes at the Women’s Institute, Houston; Glassell School, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Spring Branch Community College; and other graduate courses at the University of Houston.

While gainfully employed first as a librarian, then as an actress and finally, as a legal assistant, she found time to volunteer her services to the Musuem of Fine Arts, Houston and to Taping for the Blind as a monitor and its newspaper editor.

Her role as a community service volunteer increased through the years as she served as president of Southeast Texas Museum Association, San Jacinto Chapter Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Phi Zeta Chapter of the Houston Assembly of Delphian Chapters, Pioneer Memorial Log House Museum, Bayou Woods Garden Club, Crestwood/Glen Cove Civic Club, and Crestwood Garden Club twice.

She also served in various positions on the Boards of Memorial Park Conservancy, Houston Federation of Garden Clubs, Houston Shakespeare Festival and Children’s Theater Festival. She taught English to non-speaking English students in Mexico City and Houston. Along the way she became a National Flower Show Judge, an instructor and tour guide of art galleries and museums and co-edited Newspaper Resources of Southeast Texas, a Rice University library project. She founded Festival Angels, a volunteer base for the University of Houston Drama Department, was co-founder of Women in the Visual and Literary Arts, and owned her own business - PSC Fine Art Consultant, Inc.

Her proudest achievement was the founding and leading of the Washington on Westcott Roundabout Initiative, Inc., a private public partnership with the City of Houston to design and build the first European styled roundabout in the City. She helped to raise 2.2 million dollars for this endeavor.

Currently she serves as adviser to the Initiative, a member of the seminar board of the Houston Assembly of Delphian Chapters, co-chair of the Forest Club Book Club, and co-owner, with her husband, of Running C Ranch specializing in pastured raised all natural black Angus beef.


Nancy R. Walker was born in Red Bank, New Jersey but moved to Phoenix, Arizona as a child and considers that to be her hometown. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 1966 with a BA in psychology and a minor in biology/chemistry. In 1982 she earned her MS in zoology at Texas A&M, Commerce.

She moved to Houston in 1966 and began her teaching career at Milby High School teaching biology, remaining there for three years. She moved to Denver, Colorado in 1969 to learn how to ski and worked as a Service Representative for Mountain Bell Telephone. In 1970 she returned to Houston to marry Allen Walker and resumed her teaching career at J. Frank Dobie High School. After 34 years as a biology teacher and 29 years as the Science Dept. head, Nancy retired in 2004.

Nancy has been an active volunteer with the Girl Scouts for over 25 years. She was a troop leader for 13 years and the Service Unit Manager in Friendswood for 5 years. She served on the board of directors for the South Texas Girl Scout Council and also for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council. She currently is the council librarian, Region 6 Membership Coordinator and member of the history committee, all volunteer positions. She has been a member of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network for several years.

Nancy was involved in the search for Laura Smither and continues to help the Laura Recovery Center with fund raising endeavors.