Melvin Jones Fellow: Sidney L. Smay
 S.Smay picture


Sid Smay and his twin brother, Stanley, were born on August 8, 1935, to Lloyd and Ruth Smay in rural Versailles, Illinois. A sister, Harriett, arrived in the family a few years later. Sid and Stan loved the outdoors and could always be found together hunting and fishing. The fish they caught and the rabbits and squirrels they harvested often supplemented the family's meals. The three siblings remained close to one another throughout their lifetimes; and it was a severe blow to the family when, in 1980, Stan, a teacher at Quincy High School, succumbed to cancer.

In 1947, when Sid was only twelve years old, his father died, so it became his mother's sole responsibility to rear her children. This she did well and responsibly, for the three children grew with this same sense of responsibility and service to others. Ruth's road was not an easy one, for her salary as a rural teacher in Versailles and nearby Hersman afforded few material luxuries. Ruth retired after twenty-five years' teaching and passed away a year after Stan did, sadly of the same disease.

On July 24, 1957, Sid married Beverly Davenport in their hometown of Versailles, and from this union their three children were born. Their oldest daughter, Candy, is married to Scott Wagers and lives in California with him and their son Dustin. Mary Lou, the middle child, lives in Florida with her husband, Bob Kierzek, and their son. The youngest, their son John, lives a single life in Fort Madison, Iowa, where he works as an auto parts retailer. Beverly, a retired certified professional secretary, worked for many years at Western Illinois University.

Sid studied at Western Illinois University from 1953 to 1954, and then served in the United States Air Force for four years from 1955 through 1958. His USAF duties included working with missiles in Germany for three years and another year in Florida with the Strategic Air Command. Sid resumed his studies at WIU in 1959 and graduated from that institution in 1960 with a BS in Education. Later he earned an MS ED degree, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Standing in Administration.

Upon graduation from WIU in 1960, Sid began his teaching career in the Macomb Public Schools. He first taught at MacArthur Elementary School from 1960 to 1965, and then was named principal of Wilson and MacArthur Schools where he remained until his retirement in 1990.

Sid enjoyed retirement, for it gave him time to fish and hunt, travel with Bev, and search for antique hunting and fishing collectibles. This retirement also afforded him time to continue his long-standing dedication to Lionism through his affiliation with the Macomb Lions Club.

Sid joined the Macomb Lions Club in October 1966, having been sponsored by Melvin Jones Fellow, Louis Battin. Sid was always a devoted Lion dedicated to hard work and "going the extra mile" for his club. Sid's volunteerism in all our activities was indicative of his belief in the Lionism motto, "WE SERVE," and we saw this belief surface time and again in the countless projects with which he was involved. For example, having served in all the vice-presidential positions, Sid became president in 1973. Sid was the only member of the Macomb Lions Club to have served in these capacities, as well as those of secretary for two terms and treasurer for three. Additionally, he was the Lion's Tale editor for many years and then volunteered to address and mail the Tale during Lion Ruth Dove's presidency.

Sid served on most (if not all!) committees over the years and chaired several. He felt drawn especially to the Sight and Blind and Diabetes Committees and served actively on them. He also served as board member many times during his years with the Macomb Lions Club.

When we asked Sid to name some of the activities and projects with which he was closely associated, the list was long: the Macomb Lions spaghetti suppers, the Lions steam train, Candy Days, Bulb and Broom sales, Macomb Heritage Days, Flags of Love, Hearing and Eye Screening, Diabetes Awareness, Eye Tissue transportation, transportation of the visually impaired, and unloading pizzas at Macomb High School. Sid did not mention community service projects which helped senior citizens each fall with yard work, raking of leaves, cleaning of gutters, and installing storm windows, but he was always there doing his part, as well. Sid was always eager and willing to do his part and more in all our activities anytime the need arose.

When Sid was asked to comment upon the importance of Lionism in his life, he did not hesitate to respond the following: "I think that our motto WE SERVE says it well and is the very essence of all we do in Lionism. As long as we help others, then we are serving Lionism and doing our part in helping our world become a better place in which to live. Service should be each Lion's top priority."

Sid Smay was elected to Melvin Jones fellowship in the year 2000. He was only the fourth member of the Macomb Lions Club to receive this honor, an honor which he justly deserved.

Sid Smay passed away on June 5, 2003.


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