Father’s Day Roots Stretch From North Central Washington
Father's Day will be celebrated this weekend and a debt of gratitude is due a woman who lived in North Central Washington as a young girl for her efforts to recognize fatherhood with a special day.
Sonora Smart Dodd, was born in Arkansas in 1882 but moved to a farm near Wilbur, WA .in 1889. Dodd is the woman we can thank for Father's Day, which was first celebrated in Washington state.
Dodd was raised by her Civil War veteran father William Jackson Smart, who was twice widowed and raised Dodd and her four siblings alone. Dodd longed for a holiday similar to Mother's Day that recognized the tireless work of her father.
Her inspiration was a sermon she had heard about Mother's Day and she decided in 1909 to promote the idea for a Father's Day holiday to Spokane area churches, the YMCA, government officials and business merchants.
The idea caught on and that first Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington.
The idea gathered momentum across the country for the Father's Day celebration. In 1916, President Wilson ordered the unfurling of a flag to mark the occasion in the city of Spokane.
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge encouraged all states to observe Father's Day to honor fathers around the country.
It would be over 40 years, until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson declared the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. President Nixon established the permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held the 3rd Sunday each June in 1972.
Sonora Smart Dodd the "mother" of Father's Day you could say was recognized for her tribute to service of fatherhood when she was honored in 1974 at the World's Fair:EXPO '74 Dodd was 96 when she was laid to rest in Spokane in 1978