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Sidney Earl Smith, 95

| April 27, 2010 4:18 AM

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, Wis., April 27, 1914, the son of Claude Earl Smith and Artie Marion Swanson. He was the oldest of four children, all of whom preceded him in death.

The family moved to Morgan Park, Minn., in 1915 where he was raised and educated through high school. He graduated from Duluth Jr. College in 1934; University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) 1937; attended University of Colorado law school in Boulder, Colo., 1937-1940, graduating in June 1940.

During that time in Boulder he met his forever bride, Mary Louise (Nickey) Nixon of Pocatello. She was a student in interior design. They were married Dec. 27, 1940, in Pocatello.  Nickey passed away Nov. 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 Jan. 25, 1971, through May 20, 1975, he served as the U.S. 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 lieutenant 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, racquetball, 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 preceded in death 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, 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 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 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, 1133 N. Fourth St., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814.

Please sign Sidney’s guest registry and view his online memorial at www.englishfuneralchapel.com.

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