Sidney & Mary Nixon Smith

Mary "Nickey" & Sidney E Smith


Sidney Earl Smith

COEUR D’ALENE – Sidney Earl Smith, a longtime resident of Coeur d’Alene, passed away Friday, April 23, 2010, four days short of his 96th birthday.

Sid was born in Superior, Wisconsin, April 27, 1914, the son of Claude Earl Smith and Artie Marion Swanson. He was the oldest of four children, all of whom have predeceased him. The family moved to Morgan Park (Duluth) Minnesota in 1915 where he was raised and educated through high school. He graduated Duluth Jr. College in 1934; University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) 1937; attended University of Colorado law school in Boulder, Colorado, 1937-1940, graduating in June 1940. During that time in Boulder he met his forever bride, Mary Louise (Nickey) Nixon of Pocatello, Idaho. She was a student in interior design. They were married December 27, 1940, in Pocatello, Idaho. Nickey passed away November 16, 2006. He self-financed his education by working as a dishwasher in Yellowstone Park, a steelworker, as a railroad car man’s helper, a janitor and a truck driver. He studied for and passed the Idaho bar in 1941. Their daughter, Penney K., was born in November of that year.

In October 1942, he received orders to report for induction for Officer Candidate Training, U.S. Army. (He was a member of the Minnesota National Guard 1932-1936.) After completing Officer Candidate Training, he served in overseas combat service in the European Theatre returning in 1945 with the rank of Captain. After leaving active military service, he became a member of the U.S. Officers Army Reserve, with the rank of Major, in the artillery branch.

He began his law practice in Idaho Falls in the spring of 1946, but moved to Coeur d’Alene in the fall of that year. They bought a house on Montana Avenue which was then near the city limits of Coeur d’Alene. It was while living here that their son Sidney N. Smith was born in June 1947.

For most of his career, Sid practiced law in Coeur d’Alene; however in 1970 he was appointed by President Richard M. Nixon to the position of Deputy General Counsel for the General Services Administration, serving for one year in Washington, D.C., From January 25, 1971, through May 20, 1975, he served as the United States Attorney for the State of Idaho in Boise, also under the Nixon administration.

During his career, Sid has received numerous awards from various organizations such as the Kootenai Bar Association (founding president 1978), Idaho Law Foundation (Board of Directors 1982-1988), Board of Commissioners of the Idaho State Bar, Idaho Association of Defense Counsel. But the award he treasured most was the Idaho State Bar Professionalism Award presented to him in 2004. This award states: “To Sidney E. Smith, First Judicial District, who has, over a long and distinguished legal career, by his ethical and personal conduct, commitment and activities, exemplified for his fellow attorneys the epitome of professionalism.” This statement could describe Sid’s entire life.
In addition to his law career his civic service was commendable. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce (president 1956); Rotary International Club of Coeur d’Alene (president 1979-1980 and Paul Harris fellow); first chairman of the Idaho Commission for the Blind; two years on the Idaho Board of Health, and later a director of Blue Cross of Idaho; instrumental in creating the Kootenai Medical Center hospital district and also served on the board of directors and as legal counsel for Coeur d’Alene Homes and Heritage Place; longtime member of VFW and the Idaho American Legion, where he served as state commander; one of the founders of the Coeur d’Alene Public Golf Course and has been a member of the Hayden Lake Country Club since 1946. He was a candidate for Lt. Governor in 1965. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, serving as a board trustee and Ruling Elder. He was also a member of the Sessions at the church.

In his early years, Sid enjoyed lake swimming, racquet ball, horseback riding, golf, and travel with Nickey. In his later years, he enjoyed tennis and snow skiing (into his mid-80s), Hawaii vacations, reading, and writing his memoirs.

Sid was predeceased by his parents, two sisters, one brother; his wife, Mary (Nickey) in November 2006; and his daughter, Penney, in November 2009. He is survived by his son, Sidney N. Smith (Kathy) of Coeur d’Alene; grandsons Mark Sales (Leigh) of Coeur d’Alene; Darin Sales of Hailey, Idaho; Brian Smith (Cindi) of Burbank, Calif.; great-granddaughters, Sydney and Lindsey Sales and Morgan Smith, and great-grandson, Carson Smith.
Inurnment will take place privately with the family. Memorial services will be held Tuesday, April 27, 2010, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 521 E. Lakeside, Coeur d’Alene.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Idaho chapter of the American Legion or VFW; Hospice of North Idaho, First Presbyterian Church Building Fund or the Rotary International Foundation directly, or in care of English Funeral Chapel, 133 No. 4th, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814.

Published by Idaho State Journal on Apr. 27, 2010.

Mary Nixon “Nickey” Smith

Mary Nixon “Nickey” Smith was born in Pocatello, Idaho on April 3, 1917 to Samuel M. and Fannie A. (Lott) Nixon. She was the youngest of six bothers and sisters. Mary survived two brothers, Jim and Earl Nixon and two sisters, Betty Carlsen and Edna Nixon. She has one remaining sister, Dorothy Frahm, living in Pocatello.

Mary grew up and was educated in Pocatello. She spent her summers on the Nixon Ranch on Henry’s Lake in southern Idaho where the family raised cattle and buffalo. She loved the ranch and spoke of it often throughout her life. Her two great-granddaughters affectionately called her “buffalo gal.” And those who knew her well described her as a “Great Lady.”

In 1934 she began undergraduate college at the southern branch of the University of Idaho in Pocatello, which was later renamed Idaho State University. She was particularly proud of the gift made by her parents of 100 acres of land adjacent to the Idaho State University for campus expansion and the construction and dedication of Sam Nixon Drive. She then transferred to the University of Colorado where she graduated in 1939 with degrees in education and fine arts. She later gave the University of Colorado one of its first mounted buffalo heads for a college symbol. “Henry” had lived on their Idaho ranch and was one of the largest buffaloes on record.

In 1938 Mary met her future husband, Sidney E. Smith, while they were both attending the University of Colorado. They had their first kiss in the rumble seat of a friends’ Model A Ford. They were married nearly 66 years ago on Dec. 27, 1940. Daughter Penny Kathleen was born a year later in Salt Lake City, Utah. During World War II she and Penny followed Sid to various Army posts ending up on the East Coast. When her husband was shipped out to Europe, they returned to Pocatello where Mary devoted countless hours of service to the USO for servicemen at the Pocatello Rail Junction.

In 1945, following World War II, the family moved to Coeur d’Alene where he established his law practice. Their son, Sidney Nixon Smith was born in 1947. Mary was a wonderful homemaker, wife and mother. She also found time to give generously to the community through various volunteer activities. She was one of the first auxiliary members of the Kootenai Memorial Hospital which was later renamed Kootenai Medical Center. There she logged and was pinned for more than 2000 hours of volunteer service. She was active in PEO, Mother’s Club, a Camp Fire Girl leader and Harding School volunteer. She also was an active volunteer for five years at the Idaho State Museum in Boise and the Museum of North Idaho in Coeur d’Alene.

Nickey was very artistic in needlework and interior design. She conceived and designed their family home on the rock on East Lakeshore Dr., in Coeur d’alene. her needlepoint was intricate and accomplished and she won many awards at the Kootenai County Fair for her pictures and Christmas stockings made for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was an avid collector of Indian art and buffalo pictures. In addition, she compiled the family genealogy back to the 1700s in Scotland. She was a horsewoman, loved all animals, and was a world traveler. In later years her great joys were animal, nature and travel programs. She was a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.

She was a gentle, quiet and very private lady with a huge heart and a wonderful wit. She is greatly missed by her family and many friends. We especially thank everyone for their attention and care of this very special lady in these last months of her well-lived life.

She is survived by her husband of nearly 66 years, Sidney E. Smith, daughter Penney K. Sales and son Sidney N. Smith and wife, Kathy, of Coeur d’alene; grandsons Mark S. Sales and wife Leigh of Coeur d’alene, Darin D. Sales of Hailey, Idaho and Brian J. Smith and wife Cindi of Burbank, Calif.; great-granddaughters Sidney Victoria Sales and Lindsey Taylor Sales, both of Coeur d’ Alene and brand new great-grandson Carson Bennett Smith of Burbank. Mary was a member of the Presbyterian Church since 1946.

Published by Idaho Statesman on Nov. 21, 2006.