In Memorium: Honorable George Bundy Smith

August 9, 2017

MBBA Members and Supporters:

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of the Honorable George Bundy Smith who was an excellent jurist and giant in our profession.  He will be profoundly missed by his MBBA family, and the legal profession generally.  

The Honorable George Bundy Smith, served on the MBBA Board and founded its original scholarship fund. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo, Judge Smith served on the New York State Court of Appeals from 1992 to 2006. He also served as a judge on the Civil Court of New York City from 1975-1986 and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New York from 1987-1992. A former law professor at Fordham Law School, Judge Smith was also a former Freedom Rider and a graduate of Yale University (B.A. 1959), where he was just one of three African Americans in his class, and Yale Law School (LL.B 1962). He also received a Ph.D from New York University and an LL.M from University of Virginia School of Law.

In 2014, The Metropolitan Black Bar Association established The Honorable George Bundy Smith Scholarship Fund to offer three scholarships to students who demonstrate qualities of leadership, a passion for the arts and sciences, or a commitment to diversity and academic excellence. The fund is in honor of Judge Smith, who for many years provided board leadership and guidance to the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, including starting the organization’s first scholarship fund. Above all, Judge Smith valued education and consistently leveraged his successes to the benefit of the African-American community.

Statement from Chief Judge Janet DiFiore on behalf of the New York Court of Appeals: The Court of Appeals is saddened by the death of George Bundy Smith, who served with great distinction as an Associate Judge of the Court from 1992 to 2006. A freedom rider during the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, Judge Smith remained soft-spoken, self-effacing, and completely dedicated to fairness and justice for all people throughout his career. As then-Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye said of him in 2005, "George is a man of few words, but they are absolutely the right words." He leaves our nation a better place than he found it. We will miss him deeply.

We will provide you with information about services and memorials as we receive them. 

 
In Service,
 
 
President Paula T. Edgar and the Board and Officers of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association
 

 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Justice Bundy Smith's honor to: 

Phillips Academy 
ATTN: Kathleen O'Sullivan
180 Main Street 
Andover, MA 01810

Donations to the MBBA's Honorable George Bundy Smith Scholarship fund: 

Friends of the MBBA, Inc. 
275 Madison Avenue, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10016