Marion Hartzog Smoak
Marion Hartzog Smoak (born July 8, 1916) is a former Republican South Carolina State Senator who also served as United States Chief of Protocol under President Richard M. Nixon from 1969-74 and was a member of the presidential campaign staff and Transition Team for Ronald Reagan in 1980.
A native of Aiken, South Carolina he received a Bachelors Degree in English and History from The Citadel in 1938 and a Law Degree from the University of South Carolina in 1941. Commissioned into the United States Army he served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps in both the Pacific and European Theater during World War II then taught Military Law at the United States Military Academy. He was assigned to the Judge Advocate Generals Office of the U.S. Occupation Forces in Japan from 1948-52 where his duties included overseeing war crimes trials of Japanese military members; this was followed by tours with the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky during which time he qualified for the Master Parachutist Badge by making 58 jumps. Smoak next served in the International Affairs Division of the Army Staff Judge Advocates Office at the Pentagon and also as a Legislative Affairs Officer supporting the United States Congress, United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of State; he retired in 1961 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
After a stint in a private law practice in Aiken County, South Carolina in 1964 he ran for a seat in the South Carolina Senate losing by less than 1% of the vote; elected on his second try in 1966 he became one of the first 5 Republicans to serve in that body since Reconstruction. Smoak served on several committees including Agriculture, Atomic Energy and Veterans Affairs, he was also a member of the State Constitutional Revision Committee
Upon completion of his term he was appointed Deputy Chief of Protocol at the State Department, he was named Acting Chief in 1969 and confirmed as Chief in 1972. During his tenure he oversaw several major events including the state funerals of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson along with state visits by Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev and Englands Prince Charles; upon retirement in 1974 he was given the permanent rank of Ambassador. In 1980 he was named Co-Chairman of the Committee on Finance for the successful presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan then served on the State Department Transition Team for President-Elect Reagan, he subsequently returned to private law practice with the Washington DC firm of Shipley, Smoak and Henry.
Smoaks family includes his late wife Mary Frances Meister Smoak (1920-2015) to whom he was married for 56 years; children Elmore (Pat), Fred and Mary Frances Wolde, 5 Grandchildren and 2 Great Grandchildren. At the age of 102 he maintains homes in Washington D.C. and Palm Beach, Florida and enjoys a daily martini.
- "The Citadel Alumni Association". secure.citadelalumni.org.
- "101-Year-Old Washingtonian Witnessed John F. Kennedy's Engagement, Still Drinks a Martini Every Day". 1 September 2017.
- "Interview" (PDF). www.adst.org.
- Krebs, Albin. "Notes on People".