Back when the library was built and opened, certain long-established and long-serving families were recognized as having contributed to making the community grow and prosper into what it had / has become. These families were invited to have the family name placed on the community room Legacy Wall.
A substantial donation was asked to fund the community meeting room where the city council and other groups meet. Family friend, Jim Elder, kindly called and offered such an honor to us. Our folks were gone by then, and we couldn’t afford it at the time.
When the family cabin sold last year, we felt it was time to honor Tom and Alma Emerson with a donation to the library. Mom, Alma, was appointed to the Library Board in 1980 and served as board chair for a number of years. Dad, Tom Emerson, after his military flying days, brought his young family back here and pioneered a flight school and flying business on the waterfront by Tubbs hill. Later, he managed the Cd’A Airport at Weeks Field, where the fairgrounds are now, and the airport when it moved to Hayden. He wrote three books about those early days.
Later, after getting “a real job,” as his family grew, he went to work in banking and finance, becoming president of home grown First Federal Savings and Loan Association, later Chairman of the board. He emphasized community service for himself and his staff. He was active in Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. served on the city council, and was on the NIC Board of Trustees. During the Diamond Cup Unlimited Hydroplane days, as a “Commadore,” he used his flying and military background to bring both the USAF Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels to perform over the races. Tom and Alma Emerson were designated Coeur d’Alene “Distinguished Citizens of the Year” in 1980 by Mayor Don Johnston at the Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.
Oldest son, Sandy, has served on several state, city and county committees and organizations including chairing the Idaho Fish & Wildlife Foundation for two years committees and 5 years on the County Waterways Advisory Board, two as chair. He was hired as Executive Director of the Cd’A Chamber 1980-86. He was president of the state Chamber of Commerce Executives Association when significant statewide legislation was passed enabling cities and counties to issue revenue bonds and to form urban renewal districts. He and his father were designated Honorary Alums of NIC.
Jeanne (Tanner) Emerson taught 30+ years for the NIC English Department and was named student Advisor of the Year a number of times. She founded the NIC Student Writing Center, and co-founded the Art in the Schools program. She helped to found the Cd’A Symphony Society, and served as president of AAUW in Coeur d’Alene.