A century of life celebrated with friends and family

Published 11:45 pm Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mary P. Smith is the oldest active congregant of New Shiloh Baptist Church, especially since she celebrated her 100th birthday on Feb. 10.

Friends and a host of family members gathered at new Shiloh Baptist Church Saturday for a birthday celebration for Smith.

“I’m so happy, I don’t know what to do,” Smith said. “I wish I had arms long enough to wrap around everyone.” The celebration was to be a surprise, but through talking with congregants, Smith discovered the party plans.

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This was more than a party, it was a celebration. Friends and family stood up and wished a happy birthday and spoke highly of Smith, three generations of grandchildren presented Smith with flowers placed around her seat and Smith sat at her personalized throne wearing a large tiara.

“On County Road 214, we just love having Ms. Mary as our neighbor,” said Lillie Tolbert. “Everyone loves her.”

Describing Smith as a spring chicken, Tolbert said she has never heard Smith complain of ailments in the 55 years of their friendship.

“I’ve never known her to be in the hospital but once,” Tolbert said.

Every person who shared words of thanks to Smith said she is an example of how to be a good wife, mother and how to keep a clean and well-run home, all the while being very dependable.

“Any time you need her, she’s always there,” Tolbert said.

Every speaker said Smith is an inspiration to them, and they hope one day will they not only make it to 100 years, but that they be as lively and independent as Smith is today.

“I can only imagine being 100,” said Daisy Dixon. “I pray that I live to see it.”

With all her years of life experiences, she has just one piece of advice for people.

“Be obedient to your parents,” Smith said.