Steamboat Springs resident J. Anthony "Tony" Smith died Dec. 8, 2006, at the Doak Walker Care Center. He was 64.
He was born Sept. 10, 1942, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to Eunice Hatfield and John C. Smith.
A graduate of Cornell University, Tony served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam before returning to Cornell for law school. He specialized in international affairs and was awarded the dean's prize for outstanding student.
Tony moved to Alaska in 1971, where he practiced law for 25 years, representing many of the native corporations on issues ranging from international agreements, fisheries, oil and gas development and environmental and resource programs. Much of his practice was devoted to the Pribilof Islands, where he assisted the residents during passage of the Fur Seal Act Amendments in U.S. Congress, established the Pribilof Island Trust and guided legislative and regulatory efforts in the construction of the Saint Paul boat harbor.
Tony was appointed by Alaska Gov. Steve Cowper as commissioner of commerce and economic development in 1986. As commissioner, he served as chairman of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Alaska Industrial Development & Export Authority, Alaska Student Loan Corporation and The Center for International Business. Upon returning to private practice, Tony was named chairman of the Alaska Municipal Bond Bank. He also was a columnist for The Anchorage Times, vice chairman of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of The Alaska Business Monthly.
In 1992, Tony won the primary election and was the Democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate in Alaska. In addition to his statewide civic and political activities, he was a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee's International Relations Committee and chaired the steering committee for the first Pacific Rim Fisheries Conference.
Moving to Washington D.C. in 1995, Tony was named partner in the law firm of Schmeltzer, Aptaker and Shepard, where he established the public policy section and developed an international practice concentrating on trade issues while continuing his representation of various Alaska interests. His devotion to the economic and social development of Central America was shown in his detailed and devoted work on the Central America Free Trade Agreement. He was a member of the board of directors for the Center for National Policy, Inter-American Dialogue's Latin American Advisor, and served on the Board of Trustees of Escuela Agricola Panamericana in Zamorano, Honduras.
Tony was a member of the Cosmos Club and was a 32nd degree Mason in Scottish Rite. He also was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. An avid sportsman, he enjoyed polo, tennis, hockey, rowing, sailing and was a certified ski instructor. For many years he taught children and adults in the racing program at Alyeska.
He is survived by his wife Carol; children, Jessica of Seattle and Michael of Steamboat Springs; and by his brother, Jim of Hyde Park, N.Y.
Friends and colleagues remember him as an intelligent, hardworking lawyer and public servant who tackled every challenge with optimism and boundless energy. He had many friends around the world, and every one of them will miss him. As one colleague said, "Despite his hectic schedule at work, he was always calm and maintained his equanimity. And no matter where he was, from St. Paul to Warsaw, from Tegucigalpa to Manila, he treated every human being he met with the same dignity and respect."
Tony and Carol have requested that remembrances on his behalf be made to the Tony Smith Memorial Fund established to commemorate Tony's long history of service and dedication to Zamorano Escuela Agricola Panamericana.
Memorial donations may be sent to Zamorano EAP "Tony Smith Memorial Fund" at 9300 Lee Highway, Suite G-130, Fairfax, VA 22031.