by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we revisit the events and origins of Father’s Day for the second  year in a row. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

We have included the post from last year and expanded it to include additional background information on the holiday. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers.  GLB

[ This is Part 1 of 7. ]


“I’m Happy You’re My Dad”


I feel safe when you are with me;
You show me fun things to do;
You make my life much better;
The best father I know is you.

I’m happy you’re my Dad
And so I want to say
I love you, Dad, and wish you
A Happy Father’s Day!

By Joanna Fuchs


“My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now.”
— John F. Kennedy

“I made a decision when my father passed away that I was going to be who God made me to be and not try to preach like my father.”
— Joel Osteen

“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.”
— William Shakespeare

“How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child’s board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted.”
— Voltaire

“You don’t have to deserve your mother’s love. You have to deserve your father’s.”
— Robert Frost

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
— Sigmund Freud

“A new father quickly learns that his child invariably comes to the bathroom at precisely the times when he’s in there, as if he needed company. The only way for this father to be certain of bathroom privacy is to shave at the gas station.”
— Bill Cosby


Father’s Day, Part 1: Introduction

(The following summary of TV Dads was originally posted on my blog on Saturday, June 13, 2009)

“I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.”
— M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

fathers_day_comments_06 Father’s Day was first proposed in either 1908 (Dr. Robert Webb, West Virginia) or 1909 (Sonora Smart Dobb, Washington) but didn’t become a national holiday until 1966. It was a day honoring fathers and father figures like Stepfathers, Uncles, Grandfathers, or “Big Brothers. In the United States, it is celebrated on the third Sunday of June; it is celebrated in other ways and on other dates world-wide. In any case, it is a day on which we celebrate the influence of the significant male in our lives.

Some Top TV Dads…

  • Ward Cleaver (“Leave It to Beaver“)
  • Ben Cartwright (“Bonanza“)
  • Andy Taylor (“The Andy Griffith Show“)
  • Archie Bunker (“All in the Family“)
  • Mike Brady (“The Brady Bunch“)
  • Howard Cunningham (“Happy Days“)
  • Heathcliff Huxtable (“The Cosby Show“)
  • Steven Keaton (“Family Ties“)
  • Ray Barone (“Everybody Loves Raymond“)

We will be examining quotes by the famous or that make significant points about the important influences in our lives. Please feel free to add your experiences as comments to these notes. You may examine some of the background of this holiday at Father’s Day on the NetThe History of Father’s Day.

Looking at Father’s Day in More Detail

father-s-daydadandbabies(Photo by Anne Geddes) 

Father’s Day is a day honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 55 of the world’s countries and on other days elsewhere. It complements Mother’s Day, the celebration honoring mothers.


Father’s Day is a celebration inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting. It is also celebrated to honor and commemorate our forefathers. Father’s Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, special dinners to fathers, and family-oriented activities. The first observance of Father’s Day is believed to have been held on June 13, 1910 through the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington. After listening to a church sermon at Spokane’s Central Methodist Episcopal Church in 1909 about the newly recognized Mother’s Day, Dodd felt strongly that fatherhood needed recognition, as well. She wanted a celebration that honored fathers like her own father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise his family alone when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child.

Dodd was the first to solicit the idea of having an official Father’s Day observance to honor all fathers. Enlisting help from the Spokane Ministerial Association in 1909, she arranged for the celebration of fatherhood in Spokane. On June 19, 1910, young members of the YMCA went to church wearing roses: a red rose to honor a living father, and a white rose to honor a deceased one. Dodd traveled through the city in a horse-drawn carriage, carrying gifts to shut-in fathers.

It took many years to make the holiday official. In spite of support from the YWCA, the YMCA, and churches, Father’s Day ran the risk of disappearing from the calendar. Where Mother’s Day was met with enthusiasm, Father’s Day was often met with laughter. The holiday was gathering attention slowly, but for the wrong reasons. It was the target of much satire, parody and derision, including jokes from the local newspaper Spokesman-Review. Many people saw it as the first step in filling the calendar with mindless promotions.

President_Woodrow_Wilson_portrait_December_2_1912 A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized. US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus "[singling] out just one of our two parents" In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

In addition to Father’s Day, International Men’s Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 for men and boys who are not fathers.

In the US, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. Its first celebration was in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910. Other festivities honoring fathers had been held in Fairmont and in Creston, but the modern holiday did not emerge from those.

Calvin_Coolidge-Garo Modern Father’s Day was invented by Sonora Smart Dodd, born in Creston, Washington, who was also the driving force behind its establishment. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who reared his six children in Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis’s efforts to establish Mother’s Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. The first June Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, WA, at the Spokane YMCA.

Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. President Woodrow Wilson was personally feted by his family in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made Father’s Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

In recent years, retailers have adapted to the holiday by promoting greeting cards and traditionally male-oriented gifts such as electronics and tools. Schools and other children’s programs commonly have activities to make Father’s Day gifts.

More phone calls are made in the United States during Mother’s Day than during Father’s Day, but the percentage of collect calls on Father’s Day is much higher, making it the busiest day of the year for collect calls. Also, calls during both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day tend to last longer.

Father’s Day is accompanied by a smaller total number of phone calls, greeting cards and gifts than Mother’s Day. It is speculated that this is due to the greater number of households with a mother than households with a father (due to single mothers), to the (now-changing) greater role of mothers in unpaid household labor, and to different personal or societal expectations.

Sonora Smart Dodd

Dodd Sonora Louise Smart was born in Jenny Lind, Sebastian County, Arkansas in 1882 to farmer William Jackson Smart (1842-1919) and his wife Ellen Victoria Cheek Smart (1851-1898). William Smart was a member of The First Arkansas Light Artillery and fought in the 1862 Battle of Pea Ridge during the Civil War. The Smart family moved West and finally settled near Spokane, Washington.

When Sonora was 16, her mother died in childbirth with her sixth child. Sonora was the only daughter and shared with her father William in the raising of her younger brothers, including her new infant brother Marshall. Sonora Smart married John Bruce Dodd (1870-1945), one of the original founders of Ball & Dodd Funeral Home, and had a son, Jack Dodd, born in 1909.

Sonora Smart held her father in great esteem. While hearing a church sermon about the newly recognized Mother’s Day, Sonora felt strongly that Fatherhood needed recognition as well. She approached the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested her own father’s birthday of June 5 as the day of honor for fathers. The Alliance chose the third Sunday in June instead.

The first Father’s Day was celebrated June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. The idea of Father’s Day became popular and embraced across the nation. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson came to Spokane and spoke at Father’s Day services. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. In 1972, President Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the 3rd Sunday of June each year.

Sonora Smart Dodd was honored at the World’s Fair in Spokane, Washington in 1974. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd died in 1978 at the age of ninety-six. She was buried in Greenwood Memorial Terrace, Spokane Washington, USA.


The first modern celebration of a "Father’s Day" was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton chose the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her father, Methodist minister Fletcher Golden. The city was overwhelmed by other events and the celebration was never promoted outside of the town itself and no proclamation was made in the City Council. Two events overshadowed this event: the celebration of Independence Day in 4 July, with 12,000 attendants and several shows including a hot air balloon event, which took over the headlines in the following days, and the death of a 16 year old girl on 4 July, that became known on 5 July. The local church and Council were overwhelmed and they didn’t even think of promoting the event, and it wasn’t celebrated again for many years. The original sermon was not reproduced in press and it was lost. Additionally, Clayton was a quiet person, who never promoted the event or even talked to other persons about it.

Clayton was mourning the loss of her father, and on December of that year the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested her pastor Robert Thomas Webb to honor all those fathers.

Clayton also might have been inspired by Anna Jarvis’ crusade to establish Mother’s Day; two months prior, Jarvis had held a celebration for her dead mother in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away from Fairmont.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Father’s Day…

Wikipedia: Sonora Smart Dodd…

Holidays on the Net: Welcome to Father’s Day on the Net…

Holidays on the Net: The History of Father’s Day…

Brainy Quote: Father Quotes…