This issue of Prime focuses on healthy living. Alberta Smith is closing in on 89 years old and exercises almost every day.
When she was younger, her exercise was chasing her seven children. As the wife of former Columbia mayor and county commissioner Rodney Smith, she kept busy keeping up with her energetic husband and running the administrative side of his business. Today you’ll often find Smith at the Lenoir workout facility, walking, gardening and deadheading roses.
She’s a skilled seamstress and quilter. She attends church at Memorial Baptist Church and loves to play cards and games.
How long have you lived in Columbia? How many years were you married?
I came to Columbia in September 1948 to go to the University of Missouri. I met Rodney Smith in November and married him in July 1950. He was drafted in the Army in October and sent to Fort Gordon, Ga., for basic training. I joined him there in December. After he was discharged, we returned to Columbia in 1952. For several years Rodney worked for Davey Tree Co. and was a seasonal iron worker. Rodney then started Smith’s Tree Service. He passed away in 2015 and we were married for 64 and-a-half years.
Tell us about your family.
We have seven children. Three were born between 1951 and 1954. Nine years later, I had a set of twins and two additional children. Six of the seven children completed college with no debt!
Tell us about your workout routine.
I walk almost every morning. I started walking when the youngest was one year old, riding her on the back of my bicycle. When my friend had a bicycle wreck, I parked my bike and started walking. In addition, I exercise in the Lenoir workout facility four or five times a week.
Why is exercising important to you?
I feel better after exercising. A long time ago my doctor told me, “The best thing you are doing for yourself is exercising.”
What do you believe has contributed to your longevity?
I have a desire to take care of myself and to be independent.
Tell us about a restaurant you miss and why.
I miss the Flaming Pit Restaurant. When the younger children would turn 16, we would take them to the Flaming Pit to celebrate their birthdays.