Nearly 12 hours after celebrating with friends and family, Jean Smith was at First Baptist Church last Sunday morning giving praise and thanks on her 100th birthday.
“It was a fantastic church celebration and she enjoyed it,” said her daughter, Claire Smith-Victor, who lived and worked in Dubai for 14 years.
Smith became a widow last December after losing her husband of 70 years – Percy Smith – who was a ship’s captain and active First Baptist Church member. He was 97.
The husband and wife migrated from Guyana 37 years ago.
The family matriarch was a homemaker and beauty salon owner in Guyana before coming to Canada, where she was a caretaker.
Still alert and active, Smith lives alone, prepares some of her meals and enjoys playing word puzzles and watching Jeopardy.
“My mom likes doing things that challenges her mind,” said Smith-Victor. “She is also a woman of immense faith and she believes that, more than anything else, has kept her going this long.”
Four of Smith’s five children – Smith-Victor, Rawle and Wayne Smith, who reside in Manitoba and New York, respectively and Joy Okuefuna, who lives in Edmonton; attended the birthday party last Saturday. The fifth sibling, Brenda Isaiah, who resides in England, was unable to attend because of recent knee surgery.
Smith, whose twin sister died at birth, has 24 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.