An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Trustee Bios

Trustee Bios

Don Pischner, Coeur d'Alene (District 1), was a four-term Idaho Legislator representing the people of three counties; Kootenai, Benewah, and Shoshone.  He served seven years on the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee and became interested in the Idaho State Historical Society though the presentations made to the committee and his long-term interest in Idaho's development.  He is a third generation Idahoan whose grandparents settled north of Hayden Lake during the 1890's. Mr. Pischner has a continued interest in the history of Idaho, its politics, characters and events of its territorial era.  He has pursued his interest in the lives and adventures of "Chief Joseph," "Lewis and Clark," and "William 'Billie' Clagett.  In the 1980's, he served six years as a Trustee for the Museum of North Idaho and was part of the establishment of the current facility that is home to it today and now again serves as a director.
Earl Bennett, Genesee (District 2), is a retired State Geologist and former Dean of the College of Mines and Earth Resources and the College of Science at the University of Idaho.   After serving honorably in the U.S. Air Force, Bennett received degrees in geology from the University of Delaware (BA, 1968), N.C. State at Raleigh,, NC (MS, 1970) and the University of Idaho (PhD, 1973). During his career Dr. Bennett published several hundred papers, generated over $5 million in research funds and made hundreds of presentations about Idaho’s geology and mineral resources. He has testified on many occasions before various state and federal legislative committees in Boise and in Washington, DC.  In 2003, he was honored as a “life member” of the Northwest Mining Association. Retiring as an Emeritus Professor in Geology in 2003, he continues to interact with the state’s mining sector as a consultant and speaker.  He specializes in the mining history of the Coeur d’Alene Mining District and other mining camps. Recently he was asked to serve as the city historian for Genesee, his home town. He is also part of a team updating the census of Idaho’s National Bank notes and has a general interest in the state’s banking industry.  He holds reader and research cards at both the National Archives and the Library of Congress and has done research in the National Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian.
Bill Butticci, Chair, Emmett (District 3) is an Idaho Native of Emmett with family ties going back to the pioneer days. He is currently serving a second term as Mayor for the City part time and is employed fulltime at Micron Technology working in Quality Control.  Bill has also spent ten years living in Boston while supporting defense contracts and used the majority of the weekends taking the family to the historic sites of New England.

While serving as Mayor, Bill has taken steps to restore and preserve the historic sites in the community. A design Review Ordinance was developed and passed to maintain the look of the historic downtown district. The city park band shell has been restored and put back to its original use of having performances for community events. Currently Mayor Butticci is working on the preservation of one of the oldest homes in the state of Idaho and including it as part of a Scenic Byway named 52 on 52 in which the house may be toured. Along with this Bill's Revitalization Committee has promoted a walking trail which utilizes restored historical bridges from around Idaho which cross the waterways of the path. The Lolo Creek Bridge was presented with an Orchid Award.  He believes that we must preserve our past and educate our youth to maintain our identity as not to get lost in the present. Mayor Butticci currently serves on the board of directors for Sage, a Community of Councils and has been appointed for a second-term to the 3rd Judicial District Magistrate Courts Commission.
Paul T. Smith, Twin Falls (District 5), has had a working relationship with the Idaho State Historical Society since 1991. Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in history. He has practiced law in California and Idaho.  He served as regional assistant attorney general in the Magic Valley serving State agencies.  Mr. Smith was appointed magistrate judge in Twin Falls, elected twice and served for five years.

Mr. Smith has served on several boards; Chairman of the Twin Falls County Historic Preservation Commission from 1991 to 2001. He was involved with the creation of the Twin Falls Warehouse Historic District, The Twin Falls Downtown Historic District and the Twin Falls Original Town site project. He has also served eleven years as the trustee on the Idaho Heritage Trust board and served as chair for two of those years.  Mr. Smith started and incorporated a non-profit organization, Preservation Twin Falls, to purchase Historic Properties in Twin Falls.  He has served as president since 2005.

Ernest A. Hoidal, Boise (District 4), practices general and civil, with an emphasis on immigration and nationality, law in Boise, Idaho.
He has successfully helped business involved in a wide variety of professional fields including education, scientific research, high technology  and manufacturing as well as restaurant businesses with their immigration requirements. Mr. Hoidal’s prior legal appointments include:  Assistant Boise City Attorney, General Counsel to the Association of Idaho Cities, Member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, Idaho State Bar and the Boise Bar Association.

W. James (Jim) Johnston, Pocatello (District 6), is a real estate broker and former educator. Jim has a BS is Education from the University of Idaho; a Masters degree in Religious Education and a Minor in Educational Administration from Brigham Young University; he has also completed coursework for a D.A. in Government from Idaho State University.  Jim is very involved in politics and civic activities.  He is past District Governor for Rotary International, a past National Director and Vice- President for the National Association of Realtors, and Past President of the Idaho State Civic Symphony.  He was selected as the Idaho Business Leader of the year in 2007 by the Idaho State University College of Business.
Hope Benedict, Salmon (District 7), is a U.S. and regional historian.  She received her BA in history from Boise State University in 1984; her MA in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English history, with a specialty in the English Reformation from the University of Oregon (Eugene) in 1988; and her Ph.D. in U.S. History with specialties in the American West and Idaho history in 1996.   Dr. Benedict taught English history, Western Civilization, U.S. history, history of the American West, the history of Multiculturalism in the United States, and Idaho history at Boise State in the late 1980s, the mid-1990s, and again in 1999.  She taught U.S. history, history of the American West, and Idaho history at Idaho State University (1997-98); and more recently, Dr. Benedict has taught through Skidmore College’s (Saratoga Springs, New York) University without Walls program, developing and teaching courses on the history of the American West, Women in the American West, and the American West in Transition.

Dr. Benedict serves as the director of the Lemhi County Historical Society and Museum and serves on the Board of Guardians for Lemhi County.  As a regional historian, Dr. Benedict conducts research for different organizations, including right-of-way/public access for Lemhi County, water rights research for Lemhi County residents, and works with local groups to produce interpretive historical exhibits.  She has also given a series of historical presentations on behalf of the Lemhi County Historical Society and continues her research on Gilmore, Idaho, and a new project focusing on women in the West.