Father’s Day Founder Was a Renegade, According to her Great-Granddaughter

Sonora Smart Dodd

The woman most cited as the founder of Father’s Day is Sonora Smart Dodd. Inspired by the earlier campaign to create Mother’s Day, and a desire to honor men like her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran and a widower who raised Sonora Smart Dodd and her brothers solo, Dodd organized the first Father’s Day in 1910 in her hometown of Spokane, Washington.

Father’s Day did not become a national holiday until 1972, thanks to the continued efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd spent 62 years lobbying everyone from presidents to retailers for support. She even lived to see the national holiday created. She died at age 96 in 1978.

Dodd’s 55-year-old great-granddaughter, Betsy Roddy, recalled this year that her ancestor was a Renaissance woman, the Mother of Father’s Day was a painter, poet and businesswoman, running a funeral home with her husband while raising the couple’s only son, a future father named Jack.

“I take a great deal of pride in that renegade spirit that she clearly had,” said Roddy.

While Roddy has always been aware of her legacy, thanks to MyHeritage, she was able to discover historical documents about Dodd, that even she and her mother didn’t know existed.

You can read more in an Associated Press article available in the New York Times web site at: http://nyti.ms/2sCcdBD.

In addition, you can also read additional information and see some examples of the historical records found in a blog post, published in the MyHeritage blog at:

You also might want to check out MyHeritage’s Father’s Day offer for DNA testing at: http://bit.ly/2salnnC.


And a Happy Father’s Day to you, Dick!


ROBERT ERIC PENTECOST June 18, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Happy Father’s Day to you sir. Thank you for all the interesting and informative items you bring to my attention and across my computer screen. You keep me busy and inspired to do and try things in searching for my ancestors.


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