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Following the city’s Thursday night work/study session, the Mountlake Terrace community awakened to sad news Friday morning when it learned that long-time Mayor and Councilmember Jerry Smith had passed away in his sleep on Friday, December 14. He was 77 years old.
Smith leaves a legacy in the community after taking office in January of 2002 and serving as Mayor since 2004. The longest-tenured Mayor in the city’s history, Mountlake Terrace made great progress in its revitalization under his leadership. One of the key highlights includes adoption of the 2007 Town Center Plan that is about to be updated after a year-long public process. That plan was revealed in an open house on December 4 and will be shown at tonight’s City Council meeting.
Other highlights include Mayor Smith’s relentless leadership testifying at Sound Transit Board meetings and imploring other Councilmembers to join him to extend light rail into Snohomish County when it was planned to end at Northgate. Mayor Smith travelled to Olympia and Washington, D.C. on many occasions to work with the state and federal delegations that resulted in over $20 million in funding to Mountlake Terrace. These funds have resulted in replacing the city’s aging infrastructure, park and street improvements, and major projects such as the Main Street Revitalization Project and implementation of the Ballinger Park Master Plan.
A veteran of the United States Army, Smith lived a life of service that included 18 years with the Seattle Police Department and a multitude of regional intergovernmental boards most notably SNOCOM 911 Board, Snohomish County Emergency Radio System (SERS) Board, Lake Ballinger Watershed Forum, Community Transit Board of Directors and Evergreen State Fair Board, chairing many of them.
Many people may not know that Jerry Smith and his wife of 56 years, Judi, founded Tour de Terrace in 1993 because they wanted to put Mountlake Terrace on the map by bringing Seafair to the city. They believed Tour de Terrace would help establish community pride and celebrate the city’s 40th anniversary in 1994. The Smith family continues to plan and coordinate the three day-long summer Seafair festival each July. Additionally, Jerry, Judi and the Tour de Terrace volunteers began the Tree Lighting Ceremony and continue to serve cookies, cocoa and coffee to this day.
Mayor Smith is also well-known for his service to the young and the old having been MTYAA Youth Soccer President for 25 years and he was one of the founding members of the Mountlake Terrace Seniors Group. He frequently donated crab from his fishing boat and generously supported many causes over the years including law enforcement fundraisers, the arts, and the seniors among many others. Mayor Smith was regularly seen in the gym at Mountlake Terrace High School boys’ basketball games to watch the team under Coach Nalin Sood, his long-time friend Vic Sood’s son who grew up playing soccer with Jerry’s son Scott Smith. He often ensured the city’s annual spring City Council retreat did not interfere with the state tournament in March.
According to his family, a memorial will not be held until after the New Year and the city will coordinate with the Smith family to plan any recognition of his contributions to our community.
“Having served with Mayor Smith for all of his 17 years on the City Council, I cannot think of one other person that made such a positive impact upon this community,” stated City Clerk/Community Relations Director Virginia Olsen. “He moved things forward after decades of stalemates. And now Mountlake Terrace has reinvented itself with an updated Town Center Plan, light rail coming soon, and a myriad of projects in the works, yet it remains a friendly and welcoming community full of pride.”
For more information, contact City Clerk/Community Relations Director Virginia Olsen at (425) 744-6206.