Retired attorney and Judge Edwin R. Smith, 80, passed away Wednesday, June 7, 2023, following a lengthy illness. He had been a resident of Brandon, MS, for the past 15 years.
The son of Rodney James and Sara Jane Blaney Smith, he was born Nov. 23, 1942, in Talladega, AL. He grew up in Independence, KS, and graduated from high school in 1960 at the Oklahoma Military Academy in Claremore. He then served four years in the United States Navy before continuing with college at the University of Mississippi where he ultimately earned a juris doctorate degree in 1973.
On July 18, 1987, in Oxford, MS, Ed was united in marriage to Sharron Foley Boyer, who survives at the home in Brandon.
Ed had a distinguished law career as a tribal attorney for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, based in Philadelphia, MS. His most prominent success was a family rights case known as Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, which he successfully presented and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1989 the court held that the Indian Child Welfare Act governed adoptions of Indian children.
In 1993 the Smiths moved to Osage County in Kansas to be of assistance and support to Ed's parents. He was elected Osage County Attorney, serving for several years before being named a district magistrate judge in Ottawa, KS, serving the counties of Franklin and Anderson. Following retirement, in 2008 Ed and Sharron returned to Mississippi where Ed remained committed to assisting the Choctaw tribe by serving as an associate justice of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indian's Supreme Court until his retirement in 2021. Ed was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, Paul Gordon.
Survivors in addition to wife Sharron are children Ramey (Carley) Smith, Oxford, MS, Victoria (Jeffrey) Rowe, Memphis, TN, David Boyer, Granbury, TX, and Daniele (Michael) Hopper, Brandon, MS; six grandchildren, and two sisters, Martha Gordon, Fort Worth, TX, and Liz Moore (Douglas Marshall), Independence, KS.
There will be no formal service; burial will be at Little Flock Cemetery in Toro, LA. Memorial gifts in Ed's name may be sent to the Legacy Education and Community Empowerment Foundation, Inc. (LEACEF), 516 Jones Street, Forest, MS 39074, or to a charity of choice.
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