June 13, 1931 - July 27, 2021
Veleair Courtlandt “Cort” Smith II, was born on June 13, 1931 in Charleston, West Virginia and passed away at age 90 on July 27, 2021 at Elmcroft Assisted Living in Hurricane, West Virginia. An only child, he was preceded in death by his parents Veleair C. Smith and Dea M.Smith. He was also preceded in death by his son Collett V. Smith. He is survived by his three children Courtlandt L. Smith (Elizabeth), Christian V. Smith (Jennifer) and Caroline K. Smith. Cort is survived by his four grandchildren Courtlandt L. Smith Jr., Wilson C. Smith, Lauren Claire Smith and Oliver Classen as well as his former spouse and mother of his children Kemp Littlepage McElwee. Cort spent his early years growing up in Charleston primarily in the Edgewood area where he made many lifelong friends. As his father’s various business interests became more concentrated in the Putnam County area, they purchased a farm and built a home on the Kanawha River near Winfield that they named Valdeacort Farm. For his high school education, he enrolled at the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana. It was here that he fell in love with horsemanship and began his association with the Black Horse Troop. After high school, Cort earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from Duke University. Following graduation, he served his country in the United States Air Force as an agent in the Office of Special Investigations. At the conclusion of his active service, he took graduate studies at Lehigh University before returning to West Virginia to join the family businesses. Cort was exposed to all aspects of the natural gas business under the Veleair C. Smith Management umbrella. With Teavee Oil & Gas, Inc. and Putnam Natural Gas Company, he was active in drilling gas wells and providing industrial gas service to the various industries in the Nitro area. With Well Service, Inc, he was involved with contract well and cement work for the natural gas industry over a multi-state area. With Union Oil & Gas, Inc, he was involved with providing gas utility service. They also developed several other gas production and utility companies in Ohio during this period. While visiting relatives in Cali, Colombia en route to review a mining venture in Bolivia with his father, Cort seized an opportunity to purchase a used drilling rig and begin a well drilling company to provide water irrigation for sugar cane operations. Over the next years, he primarily lived in Colombia where he was active in polo. After marriage in 1963, he and his family spent the next decades dividing each year by living for several months in Cali, Colombia and the remainder on the farm in Winfield, West Virginia while simultaneously running companies in both countries. Although his business interests were primarily in drilling and natural gas, he was active in either starting or providing investment money to endeavors ranging from an early chain of ice cream parlors in Colombia, hovercrafts capable of being driven on land or water, chicken processing, jet engines, electronic gas measurement, industrial lighting, and computer contractor service. While he engaged in various agricultural endeavors on Valdeacort Farm, hay was always his main focus and its improvement, operation and production remained a priority amongst his many activities. Cort was a founder and served on the Board of Directors of the Teays Valley National Bank from 1973 until it was acquired by Kanawha Banking & Trust in 1984. After it was acquired by United Bank, Inc. in 1987, he served on the Board of Directors of United Bank, Inc. until 2006. He was the 1980 President of the Charleston Rotary Club and long time Parliamentarian on its Planning Committee. He was an active member of the West Virginia Small Public Utility Association and Cosmos Club. Cort was a member of Edgewood Country Club and former member of Downtown Athletic Club in New York City, Club Campestre and Club Colombia Clubs in Cali, Columbia as well as many professional organizations. Throughout his life, Cort was an active traveler. Whether accompanying his father on engineering projects from Nova Scotia to Central and South America or with his mother as a competitive golfer from the Bahamas to Hawaii, it set a pattern which took him to virtually every point on the globe. Although there are too many stories to include, his presence with his former wife Kemp in Prague, Czechoslovakia during the 1968 Russian invasion was indicative of the extent of travel which was a constant throughout his life. In his later years, he returned to his true passion of horsemanship at Culver Academies. Concerned that it might be eliminated for budget reasons, he spearheaded a campaign to save the program by creating an impressive endowment. As an active instructor and staff member of the Culver Summer School program, he spent many years as an unparalleled cheerleader for the equitation and rough riding programs where he touched the lives of countless campers. Following health setbacks, Cort made his home for the last several years at Elmcroft Assisted Living in Hurricane, WV. While it may have slowed him down, he remained a constant presence on the roads with the assistance of drivers Dean, Keith and Chris. With their invaluable assistance, he was able to stay active with his hay farm, travel on the back roads in search of land to purchase, and even able to make several rewarding trips back to Indiana. During his final illness, the family is deeply appreciative to all of the staff at Elmcroft and in particular Amy, Chris, Jodi, Hattie and Amanda in getting him home and allowing him to spend his final days amongst friends and family. The visitation will be held at Chapman Funeral Home 12848 Winfield Road, Winfield WV 25213 on Monday August 2nd from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The funeral will be in the Chapel at First Presbyterian Church 16 Leon Sullivan Way, Charleston, WV 25301 at 11:00 am on Tuesday August 3rd with a reception immediately following at Edgewood Country Club. There will be a private family internment. You may also visit his tribute page at ChapmanFuneralHomes.com to share memories and offer condolences to the family. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests you make a donation in his memory to the Culver Educational Foundation for the Black Horse Troop Endowment Fund, 1300 Academy Road, Culver, Indiana 46511. Chapman Funeral Home, family-owned and located at 12848 Winfield Road, Winfield is honored to serve the Smith family.
Veleair Courtlandt “Cort” Smith II, was born on June 13, 1931 in Charleston, West Virginia and passed away at age 90 on July 27, 2021 at Elmcroft Assisted Living in Hurricane, West Virginia. An only child, he was preceded in death... View Obituary & Service Information
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