Former Santa Barbara City Councilman Sidney “Sid” Smith, 93, passed away on June 1, 2012, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Hollywood, Calif., to Annie and Willie Smith, Smith lived most of his life in California, enjoying the past 65 years in Santa Barbara.
He served in the Army and stayed in the United States during World War II because they weren’t able to find a pair of boots in his correct shoe size when equipping him for his deployment — plus he could type, so was assigned to a desk job.
He met his first wife, Millie Jacoby, at a church function in Alameda, and they married in 1943. During their 50 years of marriage, they had three children, traveled a great deal and were extensively involved in First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara.
Smith served as Sunday school superintendent, and both husband and wife sang in the choir. Millie died in 1994 and, in 1995, Smith married Madeline McCoy, who had also recently lost her spouse, whose family had been longtime friends through church.
During his life, Smith was a banker, paint store manager, owner of Sidney Smith Painting & Decorating Inc., development officer for the Santa Barbara Girls Club, executive director of Hospice of Santa Barbara, marketing director for Santa Barbara Christian School and founder of Nonprofits Inc., a program he established that assisted more than 3,000 people seeking volunteering opportunities or setting up nonprofit programs of their own.
Smith was an artist, tennis player, singer and a great whistler.
Besides his family, his passion was volunteering his time, energy and resources toward helping others. He was a proud, 60-plus-year member of Kiwanis International, including serving as governor of the California/Nevada/Hawaii District from 1973 to 1974. He established “KIWINS,” a national service organization for high school students, which now has more than 3,000 energetic young people, working to help others.
Annually, the Sid Smith KIWINS Award Fund makes a monetary gift to the club with the year’s best service project. Locally, for 45-plus summers, he was the “greeter” at Kiwanis’ Fiesta Pancake Breakfast.
He also helped establish the Dyslexia Awareness Resource Center, the Area Agency on Aging, WORK Inc., Senior Day Care Center, Pilgrim Terrace, the Terri Toon Memorial Fund and the University Religious Center.
He saved a building scheduled for demolition, and led volunteers to renovate it, creating Harmony House, a new home for many nonprofit organizations.
Smith served on the Santa Barbara City Council from 1981 to 1989, not as a politician but as a businessman who loved Santa Barbara. He was involved in getting the Dolphin Fountain installed at the foot of Stearns Wharf, establishing the Easy Lift program, securing the Wilcox property for hikers and dog walkers, and many other worthwhile projects.
He was named Santa Barbara Man of the Year, received an honorary doctorate from Westmont College, received the Santa Barbara News-Press’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and even wrote a book, Before Saying Yes to Marriage: 101 Questions to Ask Yourself, which was published in six languages.
He taught adult education courses on this topic, as well as on gerontology and volunteerism. He also sponsored a girls softball team, the “Hittin’ Misses,” on which both his daughters played.
Smith was famous for his handmade birthday and Christmas cards, homemade Halloween costumes, giving friends and visitors “50-cent” scenic tours of Santa Barbara, going to Foster Freeze with his children after church, leading church children in singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” being generous to people in need, and always having a variety of Band-Aids in his wallet in case anyone needed one.
Smith was interested in people’s stories, and nearly every conversation included the question, “What can I do for you today?” His life was spent taking action on each person’s response to this question, and it was our joy and honor to have known this generous and caring man, who we will truly miss.
Members of Smith’s immediate family whom he leaves behind are his wife of 16 years, Madeline; his daughter, Cathy Haas of Salinas; and his daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Vince Schlerf of Santa Barbara. His first wife, Millie, and his son, Steve, preceded him in death.
A celebration of Smith’s life will be held at First United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St., at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 16. Whether or not you will attend, we invite you to write a “Sid Smith’s impact on my life” story and send it to the church, for inclusion in a memory album.
We know he positively influenced the lives of many people we’ve never met. Gifts can be made in Smith’s memory to the Sid Smith KIWINS Award Fund, 8360 Red Oak St., No. 201, Rancho Cucamunga, CA 91730, or the First United Methodist Church’s Music Fund, 305 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara 93101.
Arrangements are being handled by McDermott-Crockett & Associates Mortuary.