C. Timothy Hopkins died of heart disease at his Idaho Falls home Friday night. | Courtesy Kate Salomon
IDAHO FALLS – A prominent member of the community and a “giant in the legal community” passed away unexpectedly on Friday evening.
C. Timothy Hopkins of Hopkins Roden Crockett Hansen & Hoopes Law in downtown Idaho Falls died of heart disease at his Idaho Falls home. He was 85 years old.
Kate Salomon, his eldest daughter, tells EastIdahoNews.com that she and her family were devastated when they learned of his death and will miss him.
“He was really an incredible man,” says Salomon.
Hopkins was born on March 30, 1936 in Idaho Falls to Zoe Erbe and Talcott Thompson Hopkins. He had two older brothers, Talcott Erbe Hopkins and Henry Tyler Hopkins.
Hopkins attended high school in east Idaho and graduated from Stanford University in California. He received his PhD from George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, where he graduated with honors.
He married Anne Hardy Hopkins on June 27, 1959 in Raleigh, North Carolina. They had four children: Mary “Kate” Katherine, Elizabeth Anne, Hilary Anne, and Talcott Edward.
Hopkins opened a law firm in Idaho Falls in the early 1970s, where he and his wife raised their family. Hopkins Roden, as it is known today, first opened in 1973 as Hopkins and French.
“I have had … some extraordinary legal opportunities before our Supreme Court that I consider to be the greatest challenge and enjoyment of my practice,” Hopkins wrote in personal notes from Solomon.
He recalls that in 1990 he represented then Governor Butch Otter in a rare case that many viewed as a “constitutional crisis”. The Senate had 21 Democrats and 21 Republicans. Hopkins argued that the Senate could only organize if Otter could vote with the Republicans. The Democrats challenged this argument, claiming that an executive officer of the state government could not vote for the organization of the legislature without violating the state constitution.
“The court agreed that this would not violate the separation of powers clause in the Idaho Constitution,” wrote Hopkins. “The whole matter was busy and the argument was the first to be televised from public television in our Supreme Court.”
A recent case involving a dispute over property lines was perhaps the most rewarding of Hopkins’ career. He said a local farmer was being bullied by a developer to take over a small section of the fence line that had previously been farmed by him and his father.
The contractor surveyed the land and found that the farmer’s fence was on his side of the border, leaving a controversial 0.37 acres.
“No amount of bullying from the developer would bother him,” said Hopkins. “We prevailed (and he) was lucky enough to connect the road that borders his farm with a new road that crosses the Snake River and the interstate access. Our client received legal fees in the appeal process. Sometimes it just works right. “
In addition to his practice as a lawyer, Hopkins was heavily involved with the Idaho State Bar Association and even served as president for a period. Sean Coletti, Mayor of Ammon, said he was president of the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and was involved in many other community projects.
“He cared deeply about his state and the nation. He loved his country and wanted the right decisions to be made with our elected leaders. He’s been talking about the issues a lot, ”Coletti told EastIdahoNews.com.
Coletti, who has been a colleague at Hopkins for 14 years, says Hopkins “left an indelible mark on everyone he came in contact with,” describing him as a “close friend, mentor, and father figure” who had a tremendous impact on his life and his career.
“He taught me how to be a lawyer. He was an absolute professional. If you had ever seen him in court you would say, “This guy does it old school.” He’s just doing it right, ”says Coletti. “He doesn’t stutter, he knows exactly what he’s going to say and when he speaks everyone is watching.”
Coletti says he has never forgotten some of the advice Hopkins gave him years ago about the role of a lawyer.
“He said, ‘Sean, you always have to remember that lawyers are problem solvers. Never interfere with solving the problem, ”recalls Coletti.
Since Hopkins ‘death, Coletti says, attorneys from law firms across the state have reached out to him about Hopkins’ impact on their lives.
In his private life, Hopkins enjoyed the outdoors. He was a rider, avid hunter and fly fisherman. He loved skiing and cross-country skiing.
Family trips to Grand Targhee, Sun Valley, and Kelly Canyon, as well as rides with the windows down, are some of Solomon’s fondest memories of her father.
“Many (fond memories) sat at tables in the morning and shared coffee and newspapers, long wonderful dinners with great conversation and, as soon as we were of legal age, spirited cocktail hours in front of the fireplace or outside on the terrace,” says Salomon.
Hopkins is preceded in the death by his daughter Elizabeth Anne. He leaves behind his wife Anne, three children and two grandchildren. Funeral services have not yet been announced.