Lewis J. Smith
Lewis “Lew” Joseph Smith was born in Manhattan, New York City on October 24, 1940 but
was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He became interested in all kinds of sports from an early
age, particularly cross country, track and swimming. After a short stint working for Public
Health Services, Lew joined the Army where he became an Airborne Infantry officer and ended
his twenty-one year military career as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In May, 1965, Lew was assigned to the U.S. Modern Pentathlon Team at Fort Sam Houston in
San Antonio, Texas. This rounded out his training in all five of the sport’s disciplines. Lew
competed in national and international events before being re-assigned as the company
commander for 3/60 th Infantry, going to Vietnam for his first of two tours.
Fencing influenced the rest of Lew’s life and, while attending Southwest Texas State
University (now Texas State University) in San Marcos, Texas from 1972-1976, he participated
on the school’s intramural foil team. Lew started teaching canoeing and fencing at the
university in 1974, growing the number of fencing physical education classes to twelve per
semester. Shortly thereafter, the intramural club needed a faculty sponsor and Lew
volunteered. Within a year he was the acknowledged coach of the SWTSU Fencing Society. By
1978, the Society was the largest club in the Amateur Fencers League of America with over 250
members. Of particular note, the SWT Women’s Foil Team was the only team from the
Southwestern part of the United States to compete in the 1978 U.S. Collegiate Fencing
Championships. Under Lew’s guidance, the SWT Fencing Society went on to win six consecutive
The U.S. Army invited Lew to return to active duty and he began teaching the Army R.O.T.C.
at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Fast forward to the present where Lew visits past
students, friends, and teammates in Texas as occasion allows but everyone knows that his heart
and spirit will forever be in San Marcos, Texas.