Robert Nelson Smith ’38

Robert Nelson Smith ’38 died on April 8, 2004, in Glendale, Arizona.

Born on September 12, 1915, in Burlington, MA, he prepared for college at Woburn (MA) High School and Fryeburg Academy and became a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Bowdoin. Following his graduation in 1938, he was a salesman with the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Portland and was a district manager for the General Tire and Rubber Company. During World War II he served in the Army Air Corps and was a B-26 pilot in the Southwest Pacific area. He flew 51 missions and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldier’s Medal and the Air Medal. After the war was over in 1945, he remained in the Air Force and by the time of his retirement in 1973 he had become a lieutenant general. From 1945 to 1949, he served in the Pentagon in the Air Intelligence Division and, from 1949 to 1952, was chief of the U.S. Air Force Mission in Haiti, helping establish that country’s domestic air transport service. He was the director of intelligence at the Strategic Air Command headquarters for 10 years and in 1965 moved to U.S. Air Force Headquarters, where he served as director of plans and then as deputy chief of staff for plans and operations. In 1968, he became vice commander-in-chief, U.S. Air Force, Europe. From 1969 until his retirement in 1973, he was chief of staff, United Nations Command and United States Forces in Korea. In 1973, he joined E- Systems, Inc., as director for Eastern operations, with offices in Seoul, Korea, and later on was president of Trans- Pacific Consultants, Inc. He received an honorary degree in 1970 from Kyonchee Luonghee University in Seoul. He was a member of Bowdoin’s Board of Overseers from 1965 to 1978, was selected as Fryeburg Academy’s most distinguished alumnus, and served as trustee of the Academy. Surviving are his wife, Sheau Mei Smith, whom he married in 1975; two daughters, Terry Ravetti of San Mateo, CA, and Bobbe Smith of Tustin, CA; three brothers, George E. Smith, Jr. ’42 of York Beach, Conrad Smith of Woburn, MA, and Kenneth Smith of Carolina, Puerto Rico; three sisters, Edna Murray of Derry, NH, Nancy DeRosa of Cape Neddick, and Martha Smith of Kennebunk; and five grandchildren.