Member of the Month: Norma Smith
“Why The Y?”
Mrs. Norma Smith has been a Grove City YMCA member for more than 5 years. She is a Silver Sneaker member who enjoys being a part of the Active Older Adults group. What brings her to the Grove City YMCA daily?
People, exercise and a good clean environment. “My husband, who died in 2014 at the age of 90, and I enjoyed the Y seven days a week for many years. Our participation made it possible for him and me to live as healthy older adults. Our Y has great people working there; great classes for young and old too. The equipment is plentiful, always kept working and clean. I love the friendliness of folks who attend and miss them when they do not come because of sickness or vacation. The hours are super and accommodate people who prefer working out later in the day or evening than I do. It’s amazing that many insurances pay for folks to come to the Y. That helps the person going to work out AND the insurance company because their people stay well longer!! The Grove City Y has 2 pools; it also has summer camp that all kids seem to love attending. I love to come in September when the staff takes the canoes out on the pond behind the Y and the kids learn a lot from that experience. Young people with small kids can be sure that their kids are cared for while they exercise...at no charge! I love the Y! They also have the best free coffee in Franklin County!”
Mrs. Norma Smith turned 90 years old this year and still enjoys coming to her Y! She appreciates that the YMCA is telling her story.
As a girl, she was grateful for the USO established in 1941 in Kansas. She graduated from her Kansas high school in 1944. Her mother was a volunteer in the kitchen cooking delicious food for the soldiers. When Miss Norma wasn’t working at Hammonds Clothing Store, she was jitterbugging, playing ping pong and making friends at the USO.
One night a soldier from Ohio came to the USO; they became so happy together that they eloped and married in December, 1944. Two weeks later, her husband, Jay Smith, was shipped to India for 1 ½ years. Norma Smith became an Ohioan while her husband was serving in the military. When Jay Smith returned to the USA, he attended Ohio State University and graduated in 1950!
After the Smiths’ three sons and daughters were all in school, Norma Smith got her Bachelors and Masters in Education from Ohio State University. “I love Ohio!” she exclaims. She has lived here for 72 years continued to live here after her dear husband, Jay Smith, passed away at the age of 90. Jay Smith, was a wonderfully light-hearted man and he is truly missed at the Grove City YMCA.
“We were married for 70 years and had lots of good memories. Going to the YMCA together, 7 days a week, helped both of us to be healthy and happy!” She had a wonderful life and marriage that would not have been possible without the USO started by President Roosevelt in 1941.