Steve Smith honored for service

Family members Jay Mires, Zach Smith, Leigh Smith, Steve Smith, Shirley Smith, Eric Smith, infant Amelia Smith and Carolyn Smith celebrate the 30-year anniversary of Steve Smith’s work as Waterville town attorney. The surprise event was held following the town council meeting Dec. 17. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Steve Smith talks with council member Jill Thompson during the surprise celebration for Smith Dec. 17. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

A surprise party for town attorney Steve Smith took?place?after the Dec. 17 town council meeting.

Smith was unsuspecting?of the?event until his family?walked into the room about halfway through the meeting.

They?included Smith?s mother Shirley, his wife Leigh, their son Zach, Smith?s nephews Jay Mires and Eric Smith and Eric Smith?s wife Carolyn and their daughter Amelia. Then Smith?expressed a puzzled look and the appearance of the back table decorated with cakes and cookies became apparent.

The special event?was in honor of Smith’s?30 years of service as attorney with the Town of Waterville.

When Smith first started as town attorney in 1988, he was a young attorney who had practiced for just two years. At that time, Ed Hoffman was the mayor and Mabel Knowles was the clerk.

Smith began the tradition of going to eat with his mom and dad Merrill and Shirley Smith each evening before the bimonthly council meetings. This tradition would span not only the years as town attorney but also personal milestones in Steve Smith?s life.

It was on a Monday council meeting night that Smith brought his girlfriend Leigh to meet his parents. When it was time for council to start he left her there to spend the evening with them.

When Smith and Leigh were married they came up each council night together.?After their boys Kelly and Zach were born, the whole family came up.

Oftentimes the council meetings went late, and the boys always fell asleep at their grandparents? house. Steve and Leigh would carry them asleep into the car.

Finally they became too big to carry into the car, and after that Smith came by himself.

His father Merrill passed away and then it became just a dinner with mother and son.

Shirley Smith said that these 30 years have gone by so fast that she can?t believe it has been that long.

?It doesn?t seem possible,? Smith said.

Steve Smith said that for him the years have also gone by very quickly.

He said that one of the most memorable aspects of the job was completing the major water project of the 1990s. There were a lot of legal matters to straighten out, as financing needed to be obtained from the federal government and the town needed to obtain access to the land on which the wells would be drilled.

Another memorable time was when the town bought the city hall building from Jim Jess?Implements.

Smith said that throughout these 30 years he has worked with just three town clerks and three mayors. The clerks have included Knowles, Diana Vickery and Marsha Peterson and the mayors have included Hoffman, Chuck Hammond and Royal DeVaney.

Other than vacations, Smith has only missed one meeting. This was in 2017 when Gonzaga University, his law school alma mater, played in the NCAA basketball championship.

There have been some interesting driving experiences during the winter. Smith said this was especially true in 2016 when Pine Canyon closed down due to a landslide. Smith said he remembers following a snow plow over Badger Mountain during a blinding storm.

All in all Smith has enjoyed serving as town attorney for his hometown.

?I?ve always enjoyed it,??he said.