As Idahoans prepare to vote for governor again Tuesday, the Smylie family and other friends will celebrate the 100th birthday of the late three-term Gov. Bob Smylie.
You have to be older than my age or older to remember when the Iowa native, born Oct. 31, 1914, who came to Idaho to attend the College of Idaho and led the state from 1955 to 1966. He was a friend and ally of President Dwight D. Eisenhower when the term moderate Republican was not a dirty word.
He led the effort to establish the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and left a lasting legacy when he pushed for a 3-cent sales tax in 1965 to fund education. That effort cost him a fourth consecutive term when he lost in the Republican Primary to Don Samuelson in 1966.
He didn’t fade away when he lost. Smylie went on to serve as a trustee at the College of Idaho and acting president.
He was a regular columnist in the Idaho Statesman in the 1980s and died at 89 in 2004 just six weeks before his wife Lucile.
His son SteveSmylie, also a Republican and a former legislator and teacher, has been an outspoken supporter of Democratic Boise businessman A.J. Balukoff.