By the family
Nov. 14, 2023: Briscoe Ranson Smith (“Sandy”), passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, in his home in Bronxville NY on November 6th. He was 85 years old.
He was born and raised in Stamford CT and attended the Loomis Chafee School where he was President of the Student Council, a varsity football player and a recipient of the American Field Service scholarship.
Upon graduating from Loomis he attended Williams College where he was a varsity football player and a member of the Overweight Eight, a men’s acapella group.
While at Williams he read the book “Gideons Trumpet” a story about a young attorney’s first argument before the Supreme Court which solidified his professional ambition to become a lawyer. He attended Law School at the University of Virginia where he was editor of the Law Review and a member of the Raven Honorary Society.
During law school, Briscoe was introduced to and quickly smitten by Lee Sanders, a junior editor at Harpers Bazaar Magazine. His opening line was: “So where do you see yourself in five years?” They were married soon thereafter and settled in Bronxville NY where they enjoyed raising their three children and a lifelong marriage of more than 50 years.
Briscoe began his legal career by taking a judge clerkship for New York City’s 9th district and went on to become a Partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCoy. At Milbank he was a commercial litigation specialist and advised institutional clients all over the world on complex legal matters. He was frequently applauded by industry colleagues for his eloquent and cogent legal prose.
While at Milbank he wrote a memorandum for junior associates aspiring to make Partner. The first bullet point of the memo read: “Treat your support staff like royalty” which epitomized his gracious and humble spirit. He went on to be General Counsel at US Trust and Lead Counsel at the Atlantic Legal Foundation where he took on litigation to promote a more limited Federal Government and the enhancement of charter school systems in the United States.
Briscoe was a member of the Reformed Church of Bronxville for 50 years where he served on Consistory, the EMC Fund Raising Committee, the Pastoral Search Committee, the Confirmation Mentoring Program and the Midnight Run Homeless Ministry. He advised church members and staff on various legal matters and published an illustrated book on the Church’s architectural history.
He was an avid golfer, a voracious reader of historical and political biographies and author of two books on his family’s genealogy. He had deep and meaningful friendships throughout his school years, in his professional life, on Fishers Island and in Bronxville.
He took the most joy in and is survived by his daughter Ranson, sons Radford and Brewster, son-in-law Ken, daughters-in-law Johanneke and Heather and seven grandchildren Lindsay, Hollin, Jack, Abigail, Annie, McAllister and Sadie.
Briscoe lived every day of his life with dignity, grace and character. He was a role model to so many and was deeply loved by his family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
A memorial service will be held at the Reformed Church of Bronxville on November 14th at 11am followed by a reception at Siwanoy Country Club.