Purple Heart Profile: William “Bill” Curtis Smith

Staff Sergeant William “Bill” Curtis Smith was born in Athens, GA in 1922. He attended Leon High School in Tallahassee, FL then Castle Heights Military Academy and Junior College in Lebanon, TN. In 1943, he enlisted in the United States Army at Camp Blanding, FL and received his infantry boot training in Fort Benning, GA. In 1944, he was deployed to Northern Africa as a replacement, and he was later sent to conduct small arms training in Sicily, Italy. In late 1944, SSgt Smith was assigned as a platoon sergeant with Company C, the 361 Regiment’s, 91st Infantry Division in Italy. SSgt Smith endured many days of combat and was wounded twice. He particularly remembers November 6, 1944 when a rocket attack demolished the building where he was positioned, leaving him with a hearing loss in his left ear, a broken left arm and a severe head concussion. SSgt Smith’s valiant career continued as he received the Combat Infantry Badge with four Battle Stars for invasions in Africa, Sicily, Salarno and Anzio. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Purple Heart with Clusters. As a result of his war injuries, SSgt. Smith spent over 13 months in Italian and American hospitals before he was medically discharged from Deshon General Hospital in Butler, PA.

Today, Mr. Smith acknowledges that his military training helped him develop the leadership that has crafted for him an outstanding civilian career. Upon leaving the military, Mr. Smith attended Loyola University, Florida State University and Tulane University before starting his career in the the surgical supply business. In 1964, he founded the Southeastern Surgical Supply Company in Tallahassee, FL and became its president and chairman of the board. The company flourished, and he later opened Florida branches in Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Gainesville with a Georgia branch in Albany, GA. Subsequently, his Surgical Supply Company became Consurgico Corporation and on August 12, 1971, reached a significant milestone when its common stock was accepted for trading on the National Stock Exchange.

Mr. Smith is not only a very successful businessman, but he is also an enthusiastic, ingenious, and diligent volunteer. He served with the following organizations: Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce as vice president of the executive board, Tallahassee Chamber’s Committee of 100 as chairman, Northwest Florida Water Management Board as a member of the board of directors, Tallahassee Barnett Bank as a member of the board of directors, Florida Governor Reubin Askew’s Inauguration Committee in 1971 as chairman, Northwest Florida Rotary Club as governor, Leon County Cattleman’s Association as president, “1975 Springtime Tallahassee festivities” as president, and the Suwannee River Area Council of the Boy Scouts as president.

Mr. Smith and his wife Clara Jane have three children: Robert Mills Smith, Carroll Smith Rodrigues and Polly Smith Kleissas. We salute patriot William “Bill” Smith for his distinguished service to the United States of America and to his fellow man.