Ralph Tyler Smith

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Ralph Tyler Smith
Ralph T. Smith.jpg
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
September 17, 1969 – November 16, 1970
Appointed byRichard B. Ogilvie
Preceded byEverett Dirksen
Succeeded byAdlai Stevenson III
Member of Illinois House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornOctober 6, 1915
Granite City, Illinois
DiedAugust 13, 1972 (aged 56)
Alton, Illinois
Resting placeSunset Hill Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
Alma materWashington University in St. Louis
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Battles/warsWorld War II

Ralph Tyler Smith (October 6, 1915 – August 13, 1972) was a Republican politician from Illinois and served in the Illinois state house from 1955 through 1969, including two years as Speaker from 1967 to 1969.

Early years[edit]

Smith was born in Granite City, Illinois. Smith attended Illinois College and graduated in 1937. While at Illinois college he was a member of the Phi Alpha Literary Society. He attended law school at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and was admitted to the bar in 1940.


Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve and was called to active duty in July 1942. Smith was commissioned as an ensign in October of that year and served until January 1946. He returned to Alton, Illinois and resumed his fledgling law practice. In 1954, he was elected to the Illinois General Assembly.

Upon the death of Everett Dirksen, Governor Richard B. Ogilvie appointed Smith to fill his vacancy in the United States Senate. He served from September 17, 1969 to November 16, 1970. He ran for retention in the 1970 special election, but was defeated by Adlai E. Stevenson III. When Smith ran against Stevenson, the Utah College Republicans sent a then unknown nineteen-year-old student, Karl Rove, to work on Smith's campaign.


Smith died in Alton and is buried at Sunset Hill Cemetery.

External links[edit]

  • United States Congress. "Ralph Tyler Smith (id: S000602)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Ralph Tyler Smith at Find a Grave
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Everett Dirksen
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Illinois
Served alongside: Charles H. Percy
Succeeded by
Adlai Stevenson III