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Louis Philippe Smithey was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia on June 7, 1890 to William Rosser Smithey and Mannie Jane Elizabeth Greene. He earned his bachelor and master's degrees at Randolph-Macon College in 1909 and 1910, respectively. He was an instructor and special student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute from 1910 to 1914 and a special student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1914-15. He was registered both as an architect and as a civil engineer.
Smithey was a member of Phi Beta Kappa as an alumnus of Randolph-Macon College. He was a registered architect in Virginia and West Virginia. A fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), he served as president of the Virginia chapter of AIA (1940). He married Dorothy Terrill on June 11, 1938, and they had a daughter, Nancy Terrill Smithey, on March 10, 1940. He and his family lived in Roanoke.
Smithey worked as a draftsman and contracting engineer for Virginia Bridge & Iron Company in Roanoke from 1916-18. After serving in the army in World War I, he was contracting engineer for Virginia Bridge & Iron Company again in 1919-1920. He practiced as Louis P. Smithey from 1920-22, as Smithey & Tardy from 1922-27, and again as Louis P. Smithey from 1927-35. The Smithey & Boynton partnership was formed in 1935 with Henry B. Boynton. Prior to World War II the firm served as consulting architects for the Roanoke City School Board and Roanoke County School Board for approximately eight years and,in addition, handled school buildings in Franklin County, Montgomery County, Alleghany County, Pulaski County, and in the City of Waynesboro.
During World War II (1942-45), Smithey served in the army as Lt. Colonel. After World War II Smithey & Boynton were commissioned as architects or consulting architects on public school work in Virginia valued at approximately $31,000,000.00. This work was distributed in twenty- five School Divisions of the state. Smithey retired from professional practice in 1963. He died on August 19, 1966.