Staying busy and enjoying it

By Kayla Fleming

June Smith is a busy woman and she would be the first person to tell you so. “I’ve had a busy life and I’ve enjoyed it very much,” she laughs. Smith, who turns 87 later this month, regularly volunteers at Macon County General Hospital, and has volunteered at The Palace Nursing Home and Rehab, Knollwood Manor, and the Welcome Center.

Smith was born in Nashville and moved to Red Boiling Springs with her family when she was in the sixth grade. Smith began her teaching career right after high school. “My first year of teaching, I was eighteen years old, and I taught at a one teacher school, Kirby Grove. It was first through eighth. I wouldn’t take anything for that year of teaching,” Smith said. Later that same year, Smith married and moved back to Nashville where she worked at Nashville Electric Service for nearly five years.

She and her husband returned to Red Boiling Springs in April of 1955. “And this has been my home ever since,” she smiles.

Shortly after moving back, Smith went back to teaching. She taught 2nd grade at Red Boiling Springs for 10 and 1/2 years and even had her children Kent and Jan in her classes. After that, she taught junior high and high school and then went to the central office in supervision for the last nine years. “I went to all the schools and had a lot of programs. I was supervisor of Special Education, Title One, we called it Chapter One then, and also the vocational improvement programs in the high schools.”

Smith, who has four degrees from Tennessee Technological University, including a Bachelor’s, two Masters, and an Education Specialist degree, retired from the school system in 1994. However, she passed along her passion for education to her children, her son Kent is a teacher at Red Boiling Springs High School, and her daughter Jan is the Director of Education in Athens, Alabama.

After retiring, Smith began to volunteer. “I’ve always been busy and I like to keep busy. And I love people, I really do… I like to help people and do whatever I can,” she says of her decision to volunteer. Smith has been volunteering at Macon County General Hospital for around 11 years now, she says. She began by doing surveys in patients’ rooms and now does mostly clerical work. “I can do about anything,” she laughs.

Smith also attends Smith Chapel United Methodist church and is involved with the Smith Chapel United Methodist Women’s Group. She does volunteer work around the community with the women’s group, as well as on her own.

In her free time, Smith says she enjoys reading, cooking, and having company. She also adds some serious advice for the next generation, “Have determination, initiative, and a really good hard work ethic. That’s what I’ve always admired in people. And be yourself, be honest… Be a go getter!… Stay busy, and do all you can to help the community and people in your family.”

By Kayla Fleming

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