In Memoriam: Bob Smith (1923-2016)

On March 8, 2016, Robert C. (Bob) Smith passed away at the age of 92. Upon his death, the Robert C. Smith Trust left a $750.00 donation to the BCBA earmarked for a Membership Celebration.

Excerpts from his obituary follow. The full obituary can be found at here.

A lifelong resident of Columbia, Bob served as the city’s mayor from 1961 to 1963. Over the years, as the city grew and changed, he took great pleasure in remaining actively involved in the political, cultural, business, and educational life of the community.

Born in 1923, Bob earned his bachelor of arts and juris doctorate from the University of Missouri. His early career as a lawyer was bracketed by military service. He served as an artillery observation pilot during World War II, and again during the Korean War, when he received the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters for his combat service.

In 1945, Bob married Jean Isabel Durant of Columbia. After the Korean War, he returned home to raise a family, build his law practice and pursue political aspirations. In 1953, he was elected Representative from Boone County in the state legislature, serving as speaker pro tem in his second term. Bob attempted a run for United States Congress in 1958. After a narrow defeat, he shifted his focus to local politics and community service. In 1959, he co-founded the law firm of Smith & Lewis.

During the years that followed, Bob continued to make myriad contributions on local, county and state levels. He served as chairman of the Boone County Democratic Committee, member of the Missouri State Bar Association Disciplinary Committee, member of the Board of Curators for Stephens College, president of the State Historical Society, director of Callaway Bank, president of the Missouri Symphony Society, chairman of the Missouri State Gaming Commission and honorary lifetime deacon of the First Baptist Church.

Bob helped create the Stafford Family Charitable Trust to support charitable work in Boone County, and he sat on its selection committee from the trust’s inception until his death. Over the years, he received numerous awards for public service, including the Howard B. Lang Jr. Award for lifetime service to the Columbia community.