Smith marks 100th birthday with party

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If experience is valuable, then Brookhaven’s Fannie Smith ispriceless.

The Countrybrook Living Center resident and Hog Chain nativecelebrated her 100th birthday Monday with a party at the nursinghome, surrounded by her friends and three generations of herprogeny.

Born on March 30, 1909, Smith not only lived through almostevery major event in 20th century U.S. history, but was old enoughand aware enough to understand. She was 20 years old when the GreatDepression began in 1929, 32 years old when Pearl Harbor wasattacked and 60 years old when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in1969.

“It’s marvelous,” said Dot Netterville, Smith’s only daughter.”The Lord blessed me. I lost my daddy (Lexie Smith) when he was 86and all I have is my momma.”

Netterville said her mother is “healthy as a horse” and doingfine for a 100-year-old woman. She planned to take Smith toMagnolia Monday night to visit some lifelong friends.

Countrybrook’s Director of Nursing Lawanda Welch called Smith’sbirthday party a “celebration of life,” saying the facility’sresidents are fond of Smith.

“They enjoy spending time with her,” Welch said. “She’s wellknown at Countrybrook. She speaks to everyone – tells them they’regood people. She doesn’t miss any activies we have – she attendseverything.”

Tamica Byther, Countrybrook’s activities manager, said birthdayparties like Smith’s always cheer up the other residents, severalof whom shed a tear for Smith Monday.

“I want to cry – I want to live to see half of what she’s seen,”Byther said of Smith. “My grandmother didn’t live to see 100, so itfeels good to see somebody make it that far.”