Sarah F. 'Sally' Smith; Supreme Court secretary

Sunday, October 24, 2010; 12:00 AM

Sarah F. "Sally" Smith, 77, who was the personal secretary to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. and who later was the secretary to a retired Supreme Court justice, died Sept. 25 at the Renaissance Gardens at Greenspring retirement community in Springfield. She had congestive heart failure.

Sarah Frances Smith was born in Roanoke and graduated with honors from Roanoke College in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in history. She taught sixth grade in Winchester, Va., for three years before moving to Richmond to become a secretary to Powell, then in private practice.

Miss Smith moved to Washington soon after Powell was nominated to the Supreme Court in December 1971. After Powell's retirement from the court in 1987, Miss Smith continued to serve as his private secretary until 1996. Powell died in 1998.

From 1997 to 2001, Miss Smith was personal secretary to retired Supreme Court justice Byron R. White.

She lived in Southwest Washington for many years, enjoyed Washington's cultural life and held season tickets to the Washington Redskins. She moved to Greenspring Village in 2002.

She had no immediate survivors.

- Matt Schudel

© 2010 The Washington Post Company