She lived in Kinross-shire for 103 years, went 72 years between hospital appointments and at 96-and-a-half took her first selfie.
Now this week the family of Agnes Smith – who worshipped in the same church for more than a century – have paid tribute to the woman whose long life she attributed to putting others before herself.
“My mum was born the year Spanish Flu hit, survived a depression, a polio epidemic, the Second World War and even a global Covid pandemic.
“And she did it all without losing a sense of humour or the ability to put other people first,” said her son, Sandy Smith.
Kinross-shire for more than a century
Agnes Smith was born at 138 high street Kinross on April 14, 1918.
The daughter of George Moffat and Isabella (nee Stuart) she was baptised in St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Kinross – where she remained a member for more than 100 years.
It was the same church her grandfather had founded.
She was the only child of her father – whose profession was recorded as chauffeur, and her former shoemaker mum.
But thanks to her mother being the youngest of 13 children she had plenty of cousins.
Always looking after others
Agnes was brought up on Kinross High street, where she lived until she married.
She attended Kinross Primary School and then the junior secondary.
After school she became a nanny before working in a baker’s shop.
In 1942 Agnes married Tom Smith from Milnathort.
Having ‘promenaded’ between towns and attending dances, the couple tied the knot in the manse of the United Free Church.
They moved to Milnathort where he ran his W and T Smith plumbing and heating engineering business.
Agnes was known for her hospitality and ability to make anyone feel welcome.
The couple’s three children Sandy, Leise and Isobel recall their mother having an open door policy.
And when Tom sadly passed away in 1974 Agnes had nursed him through illness then began a new chapter in her life as a landlady, helping the village bank manager by providing accommodation for single men employed but moving into the area.
“She earned the name Mum Smith with mine and my sisters’ friends and then when we had children and they grew up she became known around the area as Granny Smith.
“Several of those she looked after as children, or when she was a landlady came to her funeral and they regularly visited her in the nursing home,” said Sandy.
Home and Away
Both Tom and Agnes loved to travel when they could.
While the children were still young they drove to the continent as Tom had been commissioned to take photos of the graves of those killed in conflict.
With only a military map for guidance the family drove their Hillman to Europe.
After Tom’s death Agnes also travelled to Canada.
He daughter had recently emigrated and had become ill and Agnes spent months with her family offering support.
And for her 70th birthday she travelled to see her other daughter and her family in Australia, on her own.
Scottish Children’s League of Pity
Agnes’ concern for others was further shown in the work she did with the RSPCC – then called the League of Pity.
Both she and her friend were on the leadership committee staging concerts and winter balls in Kinross’ Bridgend Hotel.
Being a member of the league came with a pledge.
Members – like Agnes – would have undertaken to do all they could ‘to help suffering children and make them happy.’
But the charity’s patron – Princess Margaret – took note of their hard work and the pair were invited to Edinburgh to receive an award for their charity work.
Laughter and dancing
Until her 99th birthday Agnes lived on her own in a Kinross flat, having moved from Milnathort following Tom’s death.
Until a fairly recent hospital appointment after a fall, her previous last visit was on the birth of her youngest child some 72 years earlier.
She remained a lover of Scottish Country dancing, having competed in her younger years at Perth’s festivals.
But mobility issues meant she moved to Ashley House Care Home for her final few years.
“It was my birthday in July,” said Sandy.
“Visiting my mother now in her 104th year I asked, ‘do you know what day it is?’.
“‘Of course I do,’ she replied. ‘I was there!’
“And that’s the kind of sharp wit and humour she had until the very end.”
Agnes was very proud of her seven grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and her great, great grandson born in November last year.
Getting to finally meet him and to stage a five generations photo was the highlight of her year following a difficult time during lockdown.
The family now take comfort in memories of her 90th and 100th birthday parties where family from all over the world reunited and she proudly showed off her card from the Queen.
Never losing her spirit she even learned to take selfies when she was 96.
Sandy added: “My mother was a remarkable woman, whose faith and generosity shaped her life and the lives of everyone around her.
“She was funny, kind and compassionate.
“What was the secret to her long life?
“Putting others above herself. If ever anyone was down she would say ‘go and do something for someone else.”