Paul Smith and his wife pose together in formal wear
Trinity Remembers Paul Heermans Smith
University honors life of longtime Board of Trustee member
Thursday, February 10, 2022

Paul Heermans Smith, Trinity University Trustee Emeritus, died on December 10, 2021. He was 93.

Smith was elected to Trinity’s Board of Trustees in 1978, retiring in 2017 after 39 years of service. Smith was chairman of the Board for three years of the 1990s. 

"Paul Smith placed a high priority on education. During tenure spanning five decades on the Board of Trustees, Trinity experienced significant growth and recognition that brought our University where it is today," says Danny Anderson, Trinity president. "Our sympathies go out to his family and we thank them for his lasting contributions to Trinity."

Paul Heermans Smith was born on April 22, 1929, in El Paso, Texas, to Forrest Moseley Smith and Harriet Heermans Smith. He attended schools in El Paso, discovering early his lifetime gift of leadership. He attended El Paso High School where he served as Cadet Colonel of the ROTC and President of the Student Body during his senior year.

Paul attended the University of Texas at Austin from the years 1946-1951, earning two degrees. In Austin, a longtime friendship with a fellow El Pasoan became much more than that, and he married Anne Bruce in August of 1952. They were married at The Church of St. Clement Episcopal in El Paso, and remained in beautiful love with each other for the next 66 years.

In 1951, after graduation from law school, Paul enlisted in the US Navy, and qualified for Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated as an Ensign, and was stationed aboard an aircraft carrier, the USS Philippine Sea, for the last two years of the Korean War. For his last year of active duty, he was assigned to the Fleet Training Center in San Diego, CA where he taught Military Justice. 

After his assignment in San Diego, instead of returning to El Paso, he led his family to San Antonio where he joined the law firm of Cox, Patterson & Smith on February 1, 1955. He practiced law with the same firm and its successors until his retirement in 2010. He specialized in oil & gas law and energy- related matters. During his time with the firm, later renamed Cox & Smith, now named Dykema Gossett PLLC, he served as president of the firm for most of the decade of the 1980s.

Paul is survived by his daughter, Janie Smith Worth and her husband James C. Worth; his son Paul H. Smith Jr. and his wife Marie Hall Smith; and his daughter Annie Lee Smith Schaufele and her husband Lou Schaufele III. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and their respective spouses and 22 great grandchildren.

Read more about Smith’s life in his personal obituary.

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