SEATTLE - A community leader and a longtime Seattle car dealer, Phil Smart Sr., died Friday.
Smart is the founder of Phil Smart Mercedes-Benz in Capitol Hill.
Smart was known for his volunteer work throughout Seattle and he dressed up as Santa Claus every Christmas and visited children at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Doug Picha, President of Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, released a statement on the passing of Smart:
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Phil Smart Sr., a beloved volunteer and advocate of Seattle Children's Hospital. Our condolences are with his family. Phil leaves behind a legacy at Children's spanning 50 years. He served as a volunteer at our hospital for 46 years, from 1961 to 2007, spending most Wednesday evenings on the Rehabilitation Unit and serving as Children's Santa Claus for many years-known fondly to patients as 'The Real Santa Claus.' Phil is the gold standard as a volunteer. He embodies everything Seattle Children's hopes to represent to our patients and families, staff and the community. Even after 'retiring' from volunteering, Phil visited Children's often to drop off Beanie Babies in the Emergency Department. He was so involved with patients and the hospital that our volunteer office was named in his honor - the Philip M. Smart Volunteer Office.
Phil referred to Children's patients as his 'teachers' and the hospital as a 'Miracle House.' He said he witnessed many miracles over the years, which are the subject of two self-published books and a DVD titled 'Angels Among Us.' He contributes all proceeds to The Philip M. Smart Sr. Endowment for Children's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. The legacy Phil leaves behind also includes the Phil Smart Sr. Guild, benefiting Rehabilitation Medicine and the Phil and Helen Smart 'Unknown Child' Endowment for International Patients, which provides funding so Children's pediatric specialty expertise can benefit children who reside in other countries. He will be greatly missed by the Seattle Children's community. We were so lucky to have him as a part of our organization for so many years."
Many people have left messages and photos on Phil Smart Sr.’s Facebook page.