Left: The Riverside home owned by Cornelius Cole Smith, Sr., where “Corney” grew up. Right: Cornelius Cole Smith, Jr. and one of his paintings.

Cornelius Cole Smith Jr

Cornelius “Corney” Cole Smith, Jr., was Officer of the Day in the Marine Corps barracks at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Corney led a small group of Marines through oily burning water to rescue more than 15 sailors who were blown off their ships in the Japanese attack. From May 1941 to October 1945, Smith served overseas and held commands at all levels from a platoon to a battalion. He spent much of his time in the Philippines where his father had served. Corney started his military career as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1937 and he retired as a colonel in 1967.

The Smith family had a heritage of military service beginning with the Revolutionary War. His father, Cornelius Cole Smith, Sr., also at Evergreen, was presented with the Medal of Honor for Valor during the Indian Wars.

When he left the service Corney had a varied career, working first as an architect, and later earning a doctorate in International Relations and becoming an author, historian of the southwest, and an artist.