Mary Smith celebrates 102nd birthday at NHC of Fort Oglethorpe

Mary Smith celebrates 102nd birthday at NHC of Fort Oglethorpe

March 15th, 2012 by Katie Ward in Local Regional News

For her 102nd birthday March 9, NHC of Fort Oglethorpe resident Mary Smith received a letter from the White House signed by President Barrack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

She also was given a special birthday party celebration at the assisted living facility with family and friends present.

NHC of Fort Oglethorpe hosts a birthday party for resident Mary Smith. Smith, center, who turned 102 March 9, is surrounded by family and friends. From left are her daughter-in-law Hellen Smith, grandson Jay Smith, only son James "Al" Smith and her niece Lila Davis.

Photo by Katie Ward

"Today is her birthday and my birthday," said Mary's son Al, who turned 82 the day she turned 102. "I come to NHC every night to check on her. She lost her sight when she was in her late 90s."

NHC of Fort Oglethorpe Administrator John Nosworthy presented Mary Smith with the president's congratulatory letter on reaching her milestone and for her wisdom and contribution to her state and nation, as well as a similar one from Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's office.

"Ms. Smith and her son Al have been a part of our family here at NHC," said Nosworthy. "She is a real sweet lady. I have never heard her say anything negative. Al helps at NHC wherever he can. It's an honor and a joy to provide care for Ms. Smith."

Mary Smith was born March 9, 1910, in South Pittsburg, Tenn., the oldest of five children born to Bud and Hattie Harris.

The Harris family moved to East Chattanooga for a few years and then to Fort Oglethorpe in 1925. Mary married Jesse Smith in 1928. They had one son, Al, who married a woman named Hellen and gave birth to Mary Smith's only grandson, Jay.

Al Smith said his mother and father raised him well in Fort Oglethorpe. Al Smith went into the military and later worked for Tennessee Valley Authority until retirement. He still resides close to his mother's residence in Fort Oglethorpe.

In her younger years, Mary Smith worked for Miller Smith in Chattanooga, but was a homemaker most of her life. She joined Cloud Springs Baptist Church at age 16 and has been a member there for 86 years. She is the oldest member of the church.

She renewed her driver's license at age 90 and continued to drive for several years. She still attended church and made her Saturday beauty shop trips until age 95. She lived in her home until age 97; she moved to NHC four and a half years ago.