Gary Smith named Sequim Citizen of the Year

SEQUIM –– Though their numbers have fallen over the past century, the farmer is still king of the Dungeness Valley.

Witness the selection Tuesday of long-time dairyman Gary Smith as the 2013 Citizen of the Year.

“Thank God for farmers,” 2012 Citizen of the Year Kevin Kennedy said before announcing Smith’s award.

Smith, 73, was honored at the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet at SunLand Golf and Country Club before a crowd of more than 100.

Smith, whose family’s Maple View Farms is one of two producing dairies left in the valley, was selected from three final nominees for the annual award.

The other two Citizen of the Year nominees, Patsy Mattingley and Al Friess, were awarded community service awards.

The Bill and Esther Littlejohn Humanitarian Award was presented to R. Leo Shipley in recognition of the millions he has donated to the Sequim Senior Activity Center, which changed its name to the Shipley Senior Center in his honor last year.

“Gary epitomizes the small-town rural character that makes Sequim and the Dungeness Valley such a wonderful place,” said Joe Holtrop, director of the Clallam Conservation District, who nominated Smith for the Citizen of the Year award.

“He’s hard-working, he’s loyal, dedicated, unselfish, soft-spoken yet friendly and, probably above all, he’s humble.”

The honor also noted Smith’s commitment to preserving the valley’s water supply.

Past president of the Dungeness Valley Agricultural Water Users Association and the Sequim Prairie Tri-Irrigation Co., Smith was a key player in conserving water by irrigators as the state Department of Ecology imposed the Dungeness Water Rule on the river’s watershed at the beginning of this year.

“This is a very complicated process, and sometimes hard to explain, and sometimes we can’t explain just what it’s going to look like five years from now,” Smith said.

“But I think if we continue to work together, we can end up with a water conservation and a water management plan for the valley that will avert a water crisis.”

Smith credited state, county and tribal officials, as well as local real estate agents and homebuilders for crafting the rule in a way that he said ensures the availability of water for future users.

“He officially represented the irrigators,” Holtrop said.

“But in reality, in my opinion, he represented the whole community — both the present community and the future community”

Tongue in cheek, Kennedy also hailed Smith for his contribution to local youth culture, saying the Smiths’ hay pile was known for years by teens in the valley as the “make-out hay pile.”

“I think that should have been considered,” Smith said as he smiled. “It’s a contribution, right?”

Smith turned over the reins of Maple View Farms to his children who now run the operation, but gave special thanks to his wife, Jan, for “raising me and our four children.”

The couple also will serve as grand marshals of the 2014 Irrigation Festival, set May 2-11.

Shipley, who won the humanitarian award, donated the 9-acre, 51-space Baywood Village mobile home community in July to the center, a donation valued at $1.7 million.

Senior Center Director Michael Smith estimated Shipley’s donations to the center have totalled more than $2.2 million.

“I wish to thank each and every one of you for your responsibility and your contributions to the well-being of this community,” Shipley, 87, told the crowd.

The humanitarian award was first given to the Littlejohns in 2008 for their support of the Olympic Medical Center Cancer Center.

The award was created to recognize those who have made unusually large donations to the community, Chamber President Phil Castell said.

In 2009, the chamber honored Brown and Sara Maloney for their support of various charities in the valley.

Friess was given special honors for his Community Service Award, as the only person ever to be given the honor for consecutive years, 2012 and 2013.

A member of Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club, Sequim Education Foundation, SunLand Water District, Citizens for Sequim Schools and Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church, Friess also reads weekly to third-grade students at Greywolf Elementary School.

“I accept this, but I accept this for all of those people that touched my involvement or participated with me and made things happen,” Friess said.

Mattingley, an architect of the James Center for Performing Arts and member of the Sequim Education Foundation, the Dungeness Health and Wellness Clinic, and the city’s parks and recreation board, hailed other chamber members for their work.

“Sequim would not be what Sequim is without all of your work,” Mattingley said.

________

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Finalists for the 2023 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award include, front row, from left, Carol Labbe and Pauline Olsen. Not pictured is the award recipient, Renne Emiko Brock, who was unable to attend the chamber’s annual awards luncheon on Tuesday. Pictured with Labbe and Olsen are, back row, from left, chamber President Eran Kennedy, chamber Executive Director Beth Pratt and Lorie Fazio, Citizen of the Year committee chair. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Art advocate Brock named Sequim Citizen of Year

Labbe, Olsen finalists for town’s top civic award

Lena Curtis guides a snow sled with her two children, Lucien Williams, 4 1/2, and Millie, 2, all from Port Townsend, down a snow hill at Port Townsend High School on Tuesday. An overnight storm passed through but not before depositing about 3 inches of soft powder, which melted rapidly as the day warmed. The blast of snowfall was largely confined to the area around Port Townsend and Port Hadlock overnight into Tuesday morning on the North Olympic Peninsula. Another weather system was coming in on Tuesday afternoon and is expected to drop rain in the lowlands and snow in the mountains on Wednesday and early Thursday, according to meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch with the National Weather Service in Seattle. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Downhill sledding

Lena Curtis guides a snow sled with her two children, Lucien Williams,… Continue reading

waddell
Clallam PUD seeks replacement for Waddell

Applicants for the Clallam County Public Utility District commissioner seat… Continue reading

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council leaders celebrate the opening of the tribe’s new library at its Blyn campus on Saturday. Pictured, from left, are treasurer Theresa Lehman, vice chair Loni Grinnell-Greninger, chair/CEO Ron Allen and secretary Rochelle Blankenship. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe celebrates library opening

Chairman/CEO: New facility is ‘second to none’

Solar array, battery storage to be installed on Port Angeles Senior Center

System could provide hours of backup power in case of an outage

UPDATE: Power restored between Sequim, Port Angeles

A tree has been removed from a Clallam County PUD… Continue reading

Road work to close Quinault Loop

Work crews from Haztech Drilling will begin geotechnical drilling… Continue reading

Fiber gathering Thursday at Studio Bob

Marva Holmes will host “St*tch & B*tch” at 4:30… Continue reading

Dream Playground to be fully covered by insurance

Donations still will be used in May rebuild

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual Shipwrights Regatta on Port Townsend Bay on Saturday. More of a fun event than a sailing competition, awards are given out during a pizza party afterward for the most navigationally challenged (Directional Helmet trophy) and for the “saltiest” boat and crew. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Shipwrights Regatta

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual… Continue reading

The City of Sequim hosts 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks with 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units. City staff continue to look into zoning options that could protect these sites from redevelopment to help protect affordable housing options in the city. (City of Sequim)
Sequim extends its mobile home moratorium

City staff to work preserving manufactured housing option