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[From the Rocky Mount Evening Telegram of June 26, 1953]


North Carolina and the Nation have suffered a great loss in the death of Senator WILLIS SMITH who literally laid his life upon the altar of public duty as he saw it.

He came a long way, this boy who was raised in eastern Carolina and his record is eloquent testimony of his ability-he had to strive and seek and find and not yield or he never would have made the grade.

Although his forebears were North Carolinians, he was born in Norfolk, Va., by virtue of the fact that his parents were living there temporarily at the time. His father died 2 years later and his mother, with infant son, returned to her native Elizabeth City and established a neighborhood private school to earn a livelihood.

After graduating from high school in 1905, WILLIS went to work as a shipping clerk in a wholesale grocery. Later he worked his way through Trinity College, now Duke University, and went on to receive his law degree there.

During World War I he was in officer's candidate school and after the armistice he set up practice in Raleigh and began the life of a struggling young lawyer. He borrowed money for office furniture and rent. He dug in and worked hard.

The rise of WILLIS SMITH came inevitably as it must to hard work and dedicated ability. In 1926 he was elected to the house of representatives from Wake County, and in his third term was chosen speaker of the house. He presided over the assembly in the dark depression days of 1931 when there was a premium on leadership.

In 1940 he was named chairman of the Democratic State convention, and in 1946 he was given the signal national honor of being named president of the America Bar Association. The same year he was chosen chairman of the board of trustees of Duke University.

In addition to being an American observer at the Nuremberg, Germany, trials, President Truman appointed him in 1947 to serve on the Amnesty Board which passed on 16,000 persons convicted under the Selective Service Act.

Though often classed as a conservative, WILLIS SMITH was more liberal than his enemies gave him credit for being. He called himself a "middle of the roader." He supported the Workmen's Compensation Act, the MacLean School Act, the State-supported

school system, and other pieces of far-sighted legislation including the consolidation of the greater University of North Carolina.

In the hotly contested race for Senate there were followers on both sides of the campaign who went too far and who in fact brought more discredit to their candidates than support. Though the scars of that bitter campaign have remained, time is healing them. In the face of death old controversies are forgotten. Even WILLIS SMITH's enemies concede that he stood squarely and forthrightly for his convictions. We did not always agree with him, but we never questioned his integrity or motives. We believe this: He was a man of high principle, and he was one who served his State and Nation according to his best lights.

We bid hail and farewell to WILLIS SMITH, an eastern Carolina boy who followed the call of duty and who went far. He fought the good fight.

[From the Raleigh Times of June 26, 1953]


Senator WILLIS SMITH of Raleigh is dead.

The final in a series of four heart attacks within 3 days ended his life early Friday morning with his family at the bedside.

When the shock of his death has passed it will be said that he literally gave his life in the pursuit of what he considered his duty. The pace at which he drove himself after going to Washington proved too much, even for a physical constitution such as his.

WILLIS SMITH reentered the field of politics at 62 after serving in the North Carolina General Assembly as a young man. His return was not a result of his own choice but rather as a consequence of his friends' ability to convince him that he was needed at Washington.

WILLIS SMITH's political philosophy was best summarized in his own words as the second primary campaign of 1950 reached a climax with a rally held in the Wake County Courthouse. At the height of the dramatic and emotion-filled event he stood to speak. As he did so a supporter of his opponent shouted out something like this:

"We know what you are against, Mr. SMITH, but what are you for?"

"What am I for?" the former Raleigh attorney, replied. "I am for honesty and integrity in government."

If any one thing marked Senator SMITH's service at Washington it can be said that it was just that, honesty and integrity in government. His quiet, passionate dedication to these principles

frequently caused him to cross party lines and to speak against dishonesty and lack of character-and against injustice-wherever he saw it.

In his public life WILLIS SMITH achieved many honors that of becoming a leader in his home community; that of a successful legislator in his own State; that of a highly respected professional man; that of serving as president of the American Bar Association; and, finally, that of becoming a highly regarded Member of Congress. In his private life WILLIS SMITH was completely devoted to his wife and intensely proud of his four grown children. His greatest interest outside of his work and family was the water and coast of eastern North Carolina, an interest he acquired during his early life.

Obviously, WILLIS SMITH paid too great a price for the satisfaction that must have been his in serving his State and country. But he will be remembered as a man who went the second mile in carrying out his responsibility to the people he loved.

Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. President, the passing of our very good friend and distinguished colleague, WILLIS SMITH, came as a great shock to all of us. Senator SMITH was one of the ablest Members of this body. His record of achievement is equaled by few men in American public life. His was a rich and full life. Through years of hard work and application to an exacting profession, WILLIS SMITH became one of the best known and one of the most respected members of the American bar.

He matched this career with a record of public service which began in the North Carolina House of Representatives more than 25 years ago. He rose from position to position, each one of which he filled with a high degree of ability, and always in accordance with the highest standards of integrity.

WILLIS SMITH has gone to a richly deserved rest. Our hearts are with his grieving family. There are few words of consolation which are meaningful at a time like this. We have all lost a good friend and an able counselor, but we retain the memory of his presence, and it will not soon be forgotten.

Mr. KNOWLAND. Mr. President, WILLIS SMITH did not serve in the United States Senate for a long period of time, but during his relatively short service he made a deep impression upon all Members of this body, both on the Democratic side of the aisle and on the Republican side of the aisle. When WILLIS SMITH came to the Senate of the United States many of us knew of him, of his work as an eminent lawyer, as a leader of the bar, and as active in the affairs of the American Bar Association. But few of us had had the privilege of knowing him personally. While he served in the Senate we had the opportunity to become well acquainted with him, to observe his great devotion to the public service and the hard work he devoted to his committee assignments and the interest he took in the problems of the Nation, both domestic and foreign.

During the period of our service in the Senate of the United States, we have the rare opportunity to get to know men better. I think all of us who served in the Senate even during the brief period when WILLIS SMITH was here as our colleague, have become better men and better Senators by virtue of having known him and associated with him. So long as any of us shall live, I believe that the memory of WILLIS SMITH will live in our hearts, as a distinguished Senator from a great State of the Union, and a man who gave devotedly to his country the best of his ability in serving his State and his Nation.

Mr. MCCARRAN. Mr. President, I first formed the acquaintance of WILLIS SMITH when he was elevated to the presidency of the American Bar Association, and later I renewed that acquaintance and friendship in this body. I rejoiced in the fact that he was made a member of the Committee on the Judiciary while it was my privilege to preside over that group.

Mr. President, the qualities of mind and character which endear a man to his fellows are many and varied. We do not

love one friend for the same reason that we give our affection to another. We esteem some men for one virtue, some for another. It is not often in life that we have the good fortune to make a friend who combines the attributes which rendered WILLIS SMITH SO Outstanding among his fellows.

Here was a man who would have commanded respect for his sheer intellect, even had that intellect been cold as a stone and calculating as an adding machine. But in WILLIS SMITH, intellect was coupled with warmth of spirit and the outgoing friendliness of attitude, at once understanding and selfless, which comes close to illustrating the meaning of the Biblical word which has been translated, variously, as both "love" and "charity."

His keenness of wit, which would have done terrible things to men with lesser minds, was never used unkindly, any more than his physical size and strength were ever used to bully those less fortunate than himself in health or stature, for WILLIS SMITH was a gentle man. His was a gentleness born not of weakness nor of softness, but rather of knowledge of his own strength and capacity, coupled with an uncommon understanding of human frailties.

WILLIS SMITH was a man of high principle. He never deviated from the course which was right as he saw it. He lived at peace with his conscience. But in matters of morale, he contented himself with judging and ordering his own conduct; he never set himself up as judge and jury over others.

One of the reasons why WILLIS SMITH was outstanding in his profession is that he loved the law. He never ceased to study and to learn. In the Committee on the Judiciary, his colleagues gave great weight to his words, for his views were always sound, and he never expressed an uninformed opinion.

It is impossible to dissect the character of a friend who has passed on, and to say, "This was the thing I liked most about him." But surely one of the outstanding characteristics of WILLIS SMITH was his unswerving loyalty. He was

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