March 22, 1978
The “Mother of Father’s Day,” Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, died. Sonora Smart was born in 1882 in Jenny Lind (Sebastian County), the oldest of six children and the only girl. When Smart was five, her family left Arkansas and settled in Spokane, Washington, where she lived for the rest of her life. In 1898, her mother died in childbirth, and Smart helped her father raise her younger brothers. She began trying to make Father’s Day an officially recognized holiday in 1909, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane on June 19, 1910, fourteen days after Dodd’s father’s birthday. In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon made Father’s Day a permanent national holiday to be observed annually the third Sunday of June.