Virginia C. Smith, Housekeeper

August 20, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Virginia C. Smith, who had worked as a housekeeper for 50 years and was a noted cook, died Aug. 13 of Alzheimer's disease at Future Care Homewood nursing home in Charles Village.

She was 106.

Virginia Clayton was born and raised in Lancaster County, Va., where she attended public schools until the sixth grade.

She moved to Baltimore in the early 1920s and began working as a housekeeper.

She retired in the 1970s.

Among her many accomplishments, said family members, Mrs. Smith was an excellent seamstress, plasterer and painter.

"She could also repair various appliances like lamps and toasters," said her daughter, Mary E. Gaskins of Ashburton.

FOR THE RECORD - An obituary published for Virginia C. Smith in Thursday's editions misstated where she had lived for many years. Mrs. Smith had lived on the third floor of the Sharon Baptist Church parsonage on Stricker Street.
The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

Mrs. Smith was the oldest member of Fulton Baptist Church, having joined in the 1920s, and she was a member of the senior choir there for 50 years. She had been a member and recording secretary of the church's Flower Circle and Rose of Sharon Auxiliary.

"She was a wonderful cook and taught me how to make poundcake," said longtime friend and fellow church member Madge Cannon of West Baltimore. "She also taught me how to spice up string beans by adding a bouillon cube to the pot."

Her daughter explained that Mrs. Smith's longevity was due to having "good genes."

"She had an aunt who lived until 107. Her sister ... was still wearing high heels and had no arthritis when she died at 102," Mrs. Gaskins said.

"My mother worked hard all of her life and never had been sick a day in her life. She still had everything she came into this life with, including her tonsils," her daughter said. "She didn't drink or smoke and didn't like drinking water or eating vegetables. She liked eating all the meat you could give her."

A former resident of Zion Towers on Pennsylvania Avenue, she had earlier lived for years on the third floor of the Fulton Baptist Church parsonage on Stricker Street.

Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. today at her church, 1630 W. North Ave.

Also surviving are six granddaughters; 11 great-grandchildren; and seven great-great-grandchildren. Her marriage to Mordecai Albert Smith ended in divorce.

- Frederick N. Rasmussen

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