Mr. Gordon Burns Smith
JUNE 11, 1944 – AUGUST 30, 2013
Gordon Burns Smith, 69, of Savannah and Newington GA, died August 30, 2013. The son of the late Dr. William T. Smith, Jr., and Cecilia Travis Smith, of Tifton and Savannah, he was born in Paris, Texas, and grew up in Tifton and Savannah. A graduate of Tift County High School, the University of Georgia (A.B. 1966) and The Cumberland School of Law (J.D. 1969), he was admitted to practice law in Alabama and Georgia, as well as the Georgia Court of Appeals, Georgia Supreme Court, U.S. Court for the 11th Circuit, U.S. Supreme Court, and U.S. Court of Military Appeals. He was formerly in the private practice of law in Savannah, and served as assistant Chatham County Attorney; later chief of the Felony Prosecution Team as Assistant Chatham County District Attorney; and Title Attorney, Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation.
Smith was a communicant and Sunday school teacher at St. John’s Episcopal Church of Savannah.
Smith was a graduate of U.S. Army Airborne and Ranger Schools at Fort Benning; Field Artillery Basic and Career Courses at Fort Sill; Quartermaster Corps Basic and S4/G4 Courses at Fort Lee; Judge Advocate General’s Corps Basic and Career Courses at the University of Virginia; and Command and General Staff College at the University of Southern Mississippi. He served as captain in 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam (Lam Son 719 and 720); later as a field artillery battery commander; and subsequently, staff judge advocate. He served as acting chief of administrative law United Nations Command\U.S. Forces-Korea\Eighth U.S. Army, Republic of Korea, 1990; and as brigade staff judge advocate, 48th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, 1990–1991. He retired in 1994 as lieutenant colonel, USAR, and colonel, GaNG. He was decorated with the Bronze Star (Second Award) and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Badge with Palm in Vietnam, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Meritorious Service Medal, etc. The 48th Mechanized Infantry Brigade inducted him into its Hall of Fame as a member of the Order of the Volunteer, and the United States Field Artillery inducted him into the Honorable Military Order of St. Barbara.
He was former chairman, Chatham County Board of Elections (in which position, he successfully led the effort to computerize the voting machines of Chatham County); past member of the Tidelands Community Health Center Advisory Council (Certificate of Award for Distinguished Achievement); and chairman, Savannah-Chatham County Historical Site and Monuments Commission. He was also active in many patriotic and heritage organizations at local state and national level, including the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Georgia; Sons of the Revolution; Society of Colonial Wars; St. Andrew’s Society of Savannah; the Hibernian Society of Savannah; Military Order of Stars and Bars; member of Ellis E. Williams Post No 7116, Sylvania, Georgia, Veterans of Foreign Wars; and the Georgia Salzburger Society.
Smith’s extensive lifelong masonic involvement included being past master of Landrum Lodge No. 48, F. & A.M.; member of Newington Lodge No. 503, F. & A.M.; honorary and past chairman of the Executive Committee, Savannah Valley of the Scottish Rite (A.A.S.R., S.J.); past prior of Georgia Priory No. 39, Knights of the York Cross of Honour; past recorder and past sovereign, Oglethorpe Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine; past chairman of the Trial Commission for the 1st District of Georgia, Grand Lodge of Georgia F. & A.M.
In Scouting he began as a Bobcat in 1952, then earning Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm, God and Country Award, member of Immokalee Lodge No. 353 and Vigil Honor Member of Tomo Chi-Chi Lodge No. 119, Order of the Arrow (Adult Service Award from Tomo Chi-Chi Lodge); past National Council Representative and past President, Coastal Empire Council No. 99, B.S.A. 2005 through 2007; received the Silver Beaver Award; and earned the Wood Badge and the Adult Scouter’s Training Award Medal. In 2007, his presidency of the Coastal Empire Council No. 99 included the creation of a permanent endowment fund, for which effort a site at Camp Black Creek in Screven County was dedicated in his memory as a retreat for reflection. He designed numerous, beautiful patches and neckerchiefs, and compiled History of Chehaw Council No. 97, Boy Scouts of America; History of Coastal Empire Council No. 99, Boy Scouts of America; and Camp Blue Heron, Coastal Empire Council, B.S.A.
Smith published numerous books and articles, including The Chatham Artillery, 1786–2011; History of The Savannah Bar Association; The History Of The Georgia Militia, 1783–1861 (four volumes); Morningstars of Liberty: The Revolutionary War in Georgia, 1775–1783, Vol. 1; Morningstars of Liberty: Georgia Continental Officers During the American Revolution, 1775–1783, Vol. 2; History Of The Society Of Colonial Wars In The State Of Georgia, 1987–2007; The Hibernian Society of Savannah: History of the Second Hundred Years (2013); and co-authored with his wife Ghost Dances and Shadow Pantomimes, Vol. 1. In 2008 the Sons of the American Revolution awarded him the Stephen Taylor Award for the person “who by his research and writings, has made a distinguished contribution to the preservation of the history of the American Revolutionary era and its Patriots.” In 2010 the Atlanta Chapter of the Society of Colonial Wars awarded him its C. Sims Bray Literary Award. In 2012 The Society of the Cincinnati of the State of Georgia awarded Smith its George Washington Award for Patriotic Achievement.
Survivors include his wife Anna Habersham Wright Smith; two children, Raiford Laurence Smith (Stephanie) of Charlotte NC, and Mrs. Evelyn Falligant (Smith) Fredericksen of Irvine, CA; granddaughter Hannah Elisabeth Smith; and brothers and sisters: Dr. Bruce Alexander Smith (Mary Jane) of Albany GA, Dr. Livingston Travis Smith (Cheryl) of Augusta GA; Dr. Christopher Campbell Smith (Cissy) of Albany GA; Judge Nancy Terrell Stephenson (John) of Albany GA; and Dr. Cecilia Darracott McKay of Chapel Hill NC, together with numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral Services will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Savannah on Saturday, 7 September 2013 at 11:30AM E.D.T.
Interment will follow at Bonaventure Cemetery.
Remembrances: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1 West Macon Street, Savannah, Ga 31401, or the charity or organization of one’s choice.
Fairhaven Funeral Home – Hubert C. Baker Chapel is in charge of arrangements. 7415 Hodgson Memorial Drive Savannah, Ga 31406 912-927-1999