The Mother of Father’s Day

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One windy March night in the late ’90s, Mr. Smart, a grief-stricken father just returned from burying his wife, sat with bowed head in the front room of this farmhouse in the rolling hills of the Big Bend, near Spokane. Knowing nothing of the finality of death, the children looked toward the door, expecting their mother’s return momentarily. Finally one lad, frantic, rushed out into the snow to seek her in the woods. His father roused himself, went out into the snow to seek the boy, and finding him, brought him back to mother him before the fire. From that moment, he became both mother and father to the six children.

Sonora Smart Dodd, 1942




Sonora Smart Dodd always admired her father.  One of six children, her mother died giving birth to her sixth, and her father, Civil War veteran, he fought on both sides, and farmer, William Jackson Smart, was left to rear the children.  Eldest child, sixteen at her mother’s death, and only daughter, Sonora helped, and the task of raising her five brothers was accomplished in grand style.  Sonora never lost her admiration for her father, and on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington she held the first Father’s Day.  The observance attracted the attention of such luminaries as William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson, but the date was not officially established until 1966 by Presidential Proclamation as being held on the third Sunday in June.  Sonora Smart Dodd lived to see it, dying in 1978 at age 95.


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  1. Wonderful story. I never knew the origin of the holiday. Remarkable woman, blessed with a remarkable father. thank you, Mr. McC. Happy Fathers Day!

  2. This history must put the liberal progressive feminists into a dizzy, knowing that a woman – a REAL woman and not an androgynous womyn (who would never do any such thing anyways) – was responsible for Father’s Day.

  3. Happy Fathers’ Day to all men who beget children both physically and spiritually.
    And while I am at it: Happy Fathers’ Day to all newly begotten souls who create a father of a man and a mother of a woman, doing God’s work.

  4. Lost her mother at 16 with 5 younger brothers one of whom was a newborn. That family story could have been very been different had her father not been such a remarkable man and wonderful parent. A lot of pressures on fathers these days; never was easy, but more diificult nowadays. I still miss my dad…loving, bright, selfless, good, God fearing man.

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