Letter to the Editor: Frank C. Smith, Jr., had a lasting impact on Summit County | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Frank C. Smith, Jr., had a lasting impact on Summit County

M. John Fayhee
Silver City, New Mexico

I think many people in Summit County would be interested to learn that Frank C. Smith, Jr., passed away last week, a few months short of his 102nd birthday.

Frank and his wife of 43 years, Katherine, bought the Fiester Cabin in Bill’s Ranch after long-time local icons Mark and Roberta Fiester passed away. The Smiths spent many summers in Frisco.

Though a seasonal resident, Frank Smith’s impact on Summit County was outsized and indicative of his philanthropic mindset.

He was the first contributor to the Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness when the organization — now known as the Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance — was founded in 1993. His legacy in Summit County also included financing the gazebo in the Frisco Historic Park, which was named Ches’s Place, after one of Frank’s sons, who was murdered in Florida. Frank helped in the acquisition and establishment of the Fiester Preserve in Bill’s Ranch. He was an active supporter of the Continental Divide Land Trust.

He was also a partner in the Mountain Gazette, which was published in Summit County for many years.

In his native Houston, Frank was one of the financial benefactors of a newly established High Island Preserve, which is administered by the Houston Audubon Society. He helped start the Galveston Bay Foundation, established Save Buffalo Bayou, spearheaded the establishment of the 7,500-acre Armand Bayou Preserve and served on the board of directors of Houston’s massive Memorial Park for more than 50 years. Frank was the chairman of the board of the Texas Nature Conservancy when that group procured what has become Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Frank was a pilot, ocean sailor, tennis player and a lifelong fan of happy hour martinis.

He was also an extremely nice person.

He will be memorialized at a private service in Houston later this month.

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