Gibson 'Sandy' Smith

Sandy SmithSandy Smith passed away on July 9 following a delicate operation on his throat for cancer. “I shall never forget my travels with Sandy in Europe and Peru,” says Bert Rodriguez, whom he accompanied many times on Bert’s trips to Machu Picchu. (Bert, a professor of architecture at Virginia Tech, is one of the world’s leading scholars of that 15th-century Inca citadel.) “Sandy was a very special kind soul, always a bright presence in Calhoun. He had a heart of gold that affected in a special way all the lives that he touched. He and I were roommates at Yale, he was the best man at my wedding, and we shared many big adventures. He will be missed dearly by family, colleagues and friends. His memory will live in our hearts forever.”

“Sandy roomed with John Ford and me our sophomore year,” adds Van Johnson. “As you know, he was a gentle soul, bright and hard-working, quick with a smile, always excellent company. I last spoke with him at our 50th reunion. Having retired from his work at the National Archives, he was living happily with his partner, Bill Farrington.”

I urge you to read Sandy’s essay in our 50th anniversary Class Book, in which he talks movingly about how lonely life was as a closeted gay man at Yale in the ‘60s. But, typically of Sandy, he refused to blame Yale.

“Yale was not at fault in the 1960s because the sexual revolution was yet to come, starting with the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Yale nonetheless filled me with broad-minded liberalism, which made it much easier to transition to accepting my sexuality in the ‘80s and beyond. I trust and hope that being gay at Yale today is more acceptable.”