Service March 3 for State Forester Lody Smith
Special to The R-C
A memorial service for retired State Forester-Firewarden Lowell V. “Lody” Smith, who died Tuesday, will be held at 2 p.m. March 3 at the First Presbyterian Church at 115 North Division St., in Carson City.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Carson-Tahoe Hospital, 1600 Medical Parkway, Carson City, Nv 89703.
Born in Rock Springs, Wyo., on Dec. 11, 1936, to Lowell and Gladys Smith, the family moved to Sparks three months later. He graduated from Sparks High School in 1956. In 1957 he married Joyce Nelson, who also graduated from Sparks High School. They had two daughters, Cindy Bibeau of Carson City and Lisa Batzloff of Dayton. In addition to his wife and daughters, he is survived by four grandchildren, Shanna Ott of Carson City; Christopher Bibeau of Austin, Texas, Dakota Lee and Kasey Lee of Dayton; six great-grandchildren; his sister, Lynne Cake of Sparks; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Smith began his fire service career as a summer seasonal fire patrolman for the U.S. Forest Service for several years, and served as a fire protection specialist with the Nevada Air National Guard from 1954 to 1963.
In 1957, he became the second full-time employee of the Nevada Division of Forestry as a firefighter in NDF’s Sierra Forest Fire Protection District. He was later promoted to regional forester to administer the Elko Fire Protection District where he organized, trained and equipped 18 volunteer fire departments and developed conservation programs.
He was appointed State Forester-Firewarden in 1975 by Gov. Mike O’Callaghan, and held that position for 17 years under governors O’Callaghan, Robert List, Richard Bryan and Bob Miller. Lody retired in 1992.
During his term as State Forester-Firewarden he established the Conservation Honor Camp Program in conjunction with the Nevada Department of Prisons, building 10 honor camps statewide. Inmate crews for conservation programs, public benefit projects and firefighting have been provided since through the honor camp program. Expansion of the state conservation nursery program and fire protection districts under the Nevada Division of Forestry also occurred during his NDF leadership.
Smith was instrumental in establishing the Elko inter-agency dispatch center, to avoid duplication of services in wildland fire and other emergency dispatching of federal state and local fire agencies. He continued that effort through his vision and hard work that promoted legislative funding for the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch and Air Operations Center at Minden.
In 1980-81, Smith took a leadership role in working on legislation to improve the State Fire Service Training Program, emergency communications, state grant funds for equipment and training for volunteer fire departments and other aspects of the Nevada Fire Service through Senate Bill 74.
He was one of a handful of fire service leaders who gathered in 1981 to solve jurisdictional problems with creation of the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators to provide the best possible emergency response from federal, state and local agencies by the closest resource regardless of jurisdiction.
Smith served as the president of the National Association of State Foresters, hosting the NASF national conference in Sparks during that term. He was a member of the NASF National Fire Committee, served two terms as chairman of the Forest Fire Prevention Committee that oversees the national Smokey Bear campaign, and was national chairman of the Woodsy Owl committee. He also served as vice chair of the California-Nevada-Hawaii Forest Fire Council.
He was chosen to represent the nation’s state foresters on an International Exchange Group that included fire protection and conservation employees of the U.S. Forest Service and the Canadian Forest Service to exchange ideas, policies and procedures with their counterparts in Australia. He also was a guest speaker on utilizing inmates as a resource for fires and other emergencies at the World Forestry Conference held in Boston.
In the early 1970s he initiated efforts to gain support and funding for a memorial to Nevada firefighters who have died in the line of duty culminating in completion of the Nevada Firefighters Memorial in 1994 in Carson City’s Mills Park. He served as chairman of the formal memorial committee from 1989 to 2006 when he was named chairman emeritus. In 2004, he was recognized for his distinguished service to the Nevada Fire Service with a plaque on the memorial.
SmithSer served 16 years on the Marlette Lake Watershed Advisory Committee, the Nevada Environmental Commission, and the State Board of Fire Services, including two terms as chairman. He was a past president of the Nevada Fire Chiefs Association, a member of the Nevada State Firefighters Association, served as president of the Nevada State Administrators Association, was an honorary member of Carson City’s Warren Engine Company No. 1, and a member of the Masonic Lodges of Elko and Reno.
He also served on the Carson City Fire Prevention Committee and was named Fireman of the Year by the Carson City Rotary Club.