Father's Day Founders

Sunday June 15, 2003
Posted at 11:26 p.m. CDT

BATESVILLE, ARK.--Every year at this time Lorrella Vaughn and her son Joe get very interested in their family history... Especially when it concerns her Aunt Nora...the founder of father's day. According to Vaughn, the father's day story began when the Smarts decided to make a long journey westward through Nebraska.

"While they were going through there, their mother died and the father proceeded on west with them and they settled in Washington state," Lorrella said, "Aunt Nora felt that she wanted to give honor to her dad, and not just to her dad, but all dads, because her dad had raised the family all by himself. Lorrella's son Joe added, "To be a good father is to take care of your family, and this is what she wanted to bring out and to be noticed and all fathers could be celebrated on one time of the year."

In 1909, Dodd and then-president Teddy Roosevelt met in Spokane Washington to discuss her dream of having a day to honor fathers. "He liked the idea, so he went about setting up a proclamation to make father's day a national holiday," Lorrella said, and a congressional order followed, making father's day a national holiday on the third Sunday of June in 1910. Nora Smart Dodd died in March of 1978 at the age of 96 leaving behind a tradition still celebrated on this day.