Past National Commander Ray Smith passed away at his home Wednesday after a lengthy illness.

PNC Ray Smith passes away

Past National Commander Ray Smith, who led The American Legion in 2000 and 2001, passed away at his home Wednesday after a lengthy illness. He was 78 years old.

A resident of Benson, N.C., Smith was a life member of Banner Post 109. He joined The American Legion on Sept. 7, 1955, a day after he left the Air Force. Forty-five years later, on Sept. 7, 2000, Legionnaires elected him national commander at the 82nd National Convention in Milwaukee.

A Korean War veteran, Smith served The American Legion in a number of other leadership positions, including national vice commander, department commander, post commander and chairman of several department commissions. He also served as post adjutant for 20 years.

Smith owned and operated Benson Electrical Co. for 26 years. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1995.

Smith's funeral will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Banner American Legion Post 109 in Benson, N.C. Burial will follow in Roselawn Cemetery.

Smith is survived by his wife, Helen. They have three children, Anita Norris, Gordon Smith and Amy Creed, and six grandchildren.

Condolences can be sent to Helen at 322 W. Main St., Benson, NC 27504.

A more in-depth article about Smith, including comments from his Legion colleagues and friends, will appear online this week.



  1. What a "Gentleman" in every sense of the word. I was fortunate enough to meet PNC Smith when he visited NJ. I met Ray on the National scene when he was National Commander and I liked his approach to recruiting new Legionaires. There aren't enough words to describe how I feel knowing that The American Legion has lost a "Valuable" and "Knowlegable" man. "Rest in Peace". You may be gone but your legacy will endure! Robert Newell Department of NJ
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