Prominent attorney and community leader who ‘left an indelible mark’ dies
IDAHO FALLS – A prominent member of the community and a “giant in the legal community” passed away unexpectedly Friday night.
C. Timothy Hopkins of Hopkins Roden Crockett Hansen & Hoopes Law in downtown Idaho Falls died from heart complications at his Idaho Falls home. He was 85.
Kate Salomon, his oldest daughter, tells EastIdahoNews.com she and her family were devastated to learn of his death and they are going to miss him.
“He truly was an incredible man,” Salomon says.
Hopkins was born in Idaho Falls on March 30, 1936 to Zoe Erbe and Talcott Thompson Hopkins. He had two older brothers, Talcott Erbe Hopkins and Henry Tyler Hopkins.
Hopkins attended high school in eastern Idaho and graduated from Stanford University in California. He obtained a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., where he graduated with honors.
He married Anne Hardy Hopkins in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 27, 1959. 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’s known today, first opened in 1973 as Hopkins and French.
“I have … had some extraordinary opportunities for advocacy before our Supreme Court which I think of as the greatest challenge and the greatest pleasure in my practice,” Hopkins wrote in personal notes provided by Salomon.
He recalls representing then Lt. Governor Butch Otter in 1990 in a rare case that many considered a “constitutional crisis.” The State Senate had 21 Democrats and 21 Republicans. Hopkins argued the Senate could not organize unless Otter could vote with the Republicans. The Democrats challenged that argument, alleging that an executive officer of state government could not vote to organize the legislative branch without violating the State Constitution.
“The Court agreed that his doing so did not violate the separation of powers clause of the Idaho Constitution,” wrote Hopkins. “There was quite a to-do about the whole matter, and the argument was the first to be televised before our Supreme Court by public television.”
A more recent case involving a property boundary dispute was perhaps the most rewarding of Hopkins’ career. He said a local farmer was being bullied by a developer to take ownership of a small section of fence line, which had previously been farmed by him and his dad.
The developer surveyed the land and determined the farmer’s fence was on their side of the boundary, leaving .37 acres in dispute.
“No amount of bullying by the developer was going to move him,” Hopkins said. “We prevailed (and he) had the good fortune to have the road bordering his farm become connected to a new road crossing the Snake River and interstate access. Our client was awarded attorney’s fees on appeal. Sometimes things just work out right.”
In addition to his work as an attorney, Hopkins was heavily involved with the Idaho State Bar Association and even served as president for a time. He was president of the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and had his hand in many other community projects, according to Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti.
“He cared deeply about his state and the nation. He loved his country and wanted to see the right decisions happen with our elected leaders. He spoke up about the issues frequently,” Coletti tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Coletti, who’s been a colleague at Hopkins’ firm for the last 14 years, says Hopkins “left an indelible mark on anyone he came in contact with” and describes him as “a close friend, mentor, and father-figure” who had a huge impact on his life and career.
“He taught me how to be a lawyer. He was a consummate professional. If you ever saw him in court, you would say ‘that guy does it old school.’ He just does it the right way,” says Coletti. “He doesn’t stutter, he knows exactly what he’s going to say and when he speaks, everyone is watching.”
Coletti says some advice Hopkins gave him years ago about the role of an attorney is something he has never forgotten.
“He said, ‘Sean, you need to always remember that attorneys are problem solvers. Never get in the way of solving the problem,'” Coletti recalls.
Since Hopkins’ passing, Coletti says attorneys at law firms across the state have reached out to him because of Hopkins’ influence in their life.
In his personal life, Hopkins’ enjoyed the outdoors. He was a horseman, avid hunter and fly fisherman. He loved downhill and cross-country skiing.
Family trips to Grand Targhee, Sun Valley, and Kelly Canyon and drives with the windows down are among Salomon’s fondest memories of her dad.
“Many (fond memories) were around tables sharing coffee and newspapers in the morning, long wonderful dinners with great conversations and, once we were of age, spirited cocktail hours in front of the fireplace or outside on the patio,” says Salomon.
Hopkins is preceded in death by his daughter, Elizabeth Anne. He leaves behind his wife, Anne, three children and two grandchildren. Funeral services have not yet been announced.