George T. Smith, 1976-1980
GEORGE T. SMITH was born October 15, 1916, and is a native of Mitchell County, Georgia. After graduating valedictorian of his class at Hopeful High School, he attended Middle Georgia College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. On August 26, 1940, he joined the U. S. Navy. While in the Navy, he attained the rank of lieutenant commander and received the Naval Merit Unit citation. Following his military service, he entered the University of Georgia School of Law and in 1948 received his LL.B.
Upon graduation from law school, Justice Smith went to Cairo, Grady County, Georgia, to practice law. In addition to his private law practice, he served as County Attorney, Solicitor of the State Court of Grady County, Cairo City Attorney, and attorney for the Grady County Board of Education.
In 1958 Justice Smith was elected to represent Grady County in the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served for eight years. He became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1963 and held that position through 1966. In 1966 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of the State of Georgia.
Upon leaving the Lieutenant Governor's office in 1971, Justice Smith returned to the private practice of law in Marietta, Cobb County, Georgia. In 1976 he was elected to a six-year term as Judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals. He thus became the only person in Georgia history to win contested elections in all three branches of State government - legislative, executive, and judicial. In recognition of this outstanding record of service, his portrait was unveiled in the rotunda of the State Capitol on May 12, 1980, in accordance with a Joint Resolution passed by the Georgia House and Senate. It is now displayed on the third floor of the State Capitol. Justice Smith was elected to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 1980, and joined the Court on January 1, 1981. He presently serves on the Executive Committee of the Appellate Judges Conference.
During his career he has devoted many hours of service to civic and professional organizations. He was District Governor of the Georgia Kiwanis in 1960 and has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Arthritis Foundation and as chairman of its National Government Affairs Committee.