William Stanford Smith, retired U.S. Army Major General and retired president of the American Newspaper Publishers Assn. (ANPA), died May 2 at his home in Melbourne, FL. He was 99 and lived in Brevard County for more than three decades.
Born in Macon, GA, Gen. Smith graduated from Lanier High School and the University of Georgia. Immediately upon his college graduation with honors, Gen. Smith was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and entered active duty with the 103rd Infantry Regiment, 43rd Infantry Division in combat in the Pacific.
Following five years of World War II service, Gen. Smith began his career in journalism, as a reporter and editor of the Augusta Chronicle before joining the Georgia Press Association. In 1953, Gen. Smith joined the staff of the ANPA as Asst. to the General Manager. He subsequently became General Manager and ANPA President, until his retirement in 1975.
A champion of the first amendment and the role of the press in national and world events, Gen. Smith spearheaded global networking with the establishment in 1965 of the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), based in London, to safeguard the interests of the world’s press. The IPTC group was among the first to use the Telstar Satellite to transmit news across continents.
During his time with the ANPA, Gen. Smith maintained his U.S. Army Reserve status, and was a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. In 1972 he was Department of Defense project officer for the first Congress held in the U.S. for the NATO-affiliated Confederation of Reserve Officers.
Upon his retirement from the ANPA, Gen. Smith returned to active military duty as Executive Director of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Office of the Secretary of Defense. Working out of the Pentagon, Gen. Smith was the policy advisor on matters relating to all Reserve Components of the military.
Gen. Smith has received numerous military and civilian honors. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for valor in combat, the Legion of Merit, the Combat Infantryman Badge and many service ribbons. Among his civilian decorations are the Officers Cross, German Order of Merit from the President of West Germany and the Gold Medal of the City of Paris from the Mayor of Paris.
Gen. Smith is the author of two books, The Cannoneers, GL Life in a World War II Cannon Company and Camp Blanding: Florida Star in Peace and War and many professional papers and speeches. Among his numerous affiliations, Gen. Smith was a founding member of the Army Historical Foundation.
Predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Martha Cooper Smith, and by his daughter Marion Hills, Gen. Smith is survived by his sister, Mrs. Charles W. Dye, of Macon, GA, two daughters, Elizabeth Smith, of Grant, FL, and Lucinda Warnick, of Palm Bay, FL, and five grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.