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Gonzaga Mourns Passing of Legendary Law Dean, Professor Smithmoore ‘Smitty’ P. Myers

Smitty and Sandy Myers (Gonzaga University photo)

Smitty and Sandy Myers (Gonzaga University photo)

SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University mourns the passing of beloved former Gonzaga Law Dean and Professor Smithmoore “Smitty” P. Myers. Dean Myers, who was 101 years old, passed away May 13 in Spokane after a short illness.

Early Years

Smitty was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming and attended Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane. At Lewis and Clark, he discovered a knack for logic and argument. He participated in the debate team, which ultimately led him to enroll at Gonzaga University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1936. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the varsity debate team, and served as student body president. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he attended Gonzaga Law School, graduating in 1939. While in law school, he was the president of the student bar association.

Life After Law School

After law school, Dean Myers joined the U.S. Navy where he taught naval law during World War II. After completing his military service, he returned to the Puget Sound area and began working at the Washington State Attorney General’s office. In 1948, he left the Attorney General’s office and entered the private practice of law in the Seattle area. Then, in 1955, he returned to his alma mater when he was named dean of Gonzaga Law School. Dean Myers served in this position until 1965 when President Lyndon B. Johnson named him the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. After four successful years in that role, he returned to private practice in Spokane and was named partner in the law firm of Lukins, Myers, Annis, Seeyle, Bastine and Randall.

In 1975, Gonzaga President Father Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., asked Myers to once again serve his alma mater as dean to oversee the direction and growth of the law school – a position he held until 1978. After a successful second term as dean, he was appointed as U.S. Magistrate for the Eastern District of Washington, a role he served in until 1987. After his service as U.S. Magistrate ended, Dean Myers remained close to the Law School and often taught classes and continued to serve in advisory roles to the administration. He retired from teaching in 1995. 

Awards & Honors

Dean Myers received numerous awards and honors over the course of his distinguished career. In 1980, the Law School honored him with the Gonzaga Law Medal, the institution’s highest and most distinguished honor. Then, in 1989, the Washington State Bar Association honored him with its “Award of Honor and Merit” for his contributions to the law, which exemplified the highest standards of the profession. In 1990, Gonzaga honored him with the Distinguished Alumni Merit Award for his long-standing dedication as an alumnus of both the University and the Law School.

Finally, and perhaps one of his most cherished awards, the Spokane County Bar Association named its highest honor the “Smithmoore P. Myers Professionalism Award,” which is bestowed upon a member of the Spokane legal community whose ethics, professionalism, and standards are above reproach. Few individuals have had as profound an impact on Gonzaga Law as Smithmoore P. Myers.

He was a remarkable individual who engendered feelings of both great respect and deep affection. He was a wonderful teacher to generations of law students at Gonzaga Law and a mentor to countless lawyers and faculty members. 

Smitty & Sandy

On a personal note, Smitty married the love of his life, the late Sandy Sandulo, in 1982. The courtship of Smitty and Sandy was epic. They met in 1957, started dating in 1959 and got married in 1982. A quote that Smitty and Sandy lived their life by: “You don’t quit playing when you get old, you get old when you quit playing.”

The Smithmoore P. Myers Faculty Scholar Fund

In honor of Smitty and Sandy’s lifetime of commitment to Gonzaga Law, please consider sending a gift in support of the Smithmoore P. Myers Faculty Scholar Fund. Smitty and his wife Sandy established this fund to support our great Gonzaga Law faculty and all the work they do. Please visit https://www.law.gonzaga.edu/give-online/ or contact Jeff Geldien, director of development and alumni relations, at (509) 313-6121 or jgeldien@lawschool.gonzaga.edu.

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