Cliff Smith was born in 1915 in Akron, Ohio. Unfortunately, before he was one year old his father, a policeman, lost his life. The family moved to Lake Stevens where Cliff went to work at a young age to help his mother survive during the depression. It was during this time that Cliff developed his love for baseball. He was able to not only excel on his own, but was more importantly able to create a lasting legacy that has benefited the youth of Lake Stevens for many decades.
In the late 1930’s Cliff played baseball for “Lundeens”. His team picture and uniform are now on display in the Lake Stevens Museum. He continued to be a standout player throughout the 1940’s for the Mt. Vernon Milkmaids. In 1955 one simple act led to a lifetime commitment to our youth and Little League baseball.
With only two teams for youth in Lake Stevens Cliff and other dads put together two more teams so more young athletes could participate in the sport Cliff loved. The following year this became the Pilchuck Valley Little League which eventually evolved into the present Lake Stevens Little League. During his involvement with Little League Cliff was personally involved in the building of four baseball fields and was the head coach of the Lake Stevens Giants for 30 years. He will always be remembered for his enormous contributions to the league and for his coaching prowess, but even more than that players and parents will remember him for his extra efforts like regularly driving the players to and from games and practices and in the way he was such a positive role model for all the young athletes. As much as Cliff cared about Little League baseball he did not limit his volunteer work to that endeavor. Cliff raised vegetables for and was a volunteer of the local food bank. In 1962 he was the Lake Stevens High School basketball Fan of the Year. He received the Youth Leadership Award from the Lake Stevens Jaycees in 1968 and the Golden Acorn Award from the P.T.A. in 1972. He also acted as a youth group volunteer for Ebenezer Lutheran Church.
Cliff’s legacy has been taken over by his son, Gary, who has been involved with Little League baseball for many, many years as a coach of the Giants and personally maintains Bonneville Field. He presently is the treasurer for Lake Stevens Little League.
Our community has been truly enriched by the actions and love of Cliff Smith.