Oldham County Day

Grand marshal Smith is a
'true Oldham Countian'

She spends much of her time volunteering
to help others

LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2015) – Dot Smith has always called Oldham County home. Her life has been full of family and friends and growing up in a close-knit farming community, qualities which have all instilled in her a deep love for the county.
Born on Sept. 7, 1927, to Gilbert and Ethel Curtis Dailey, Smith said her father ran a milk route with his brother Everett, consisting of two or three trucks. There were a lot of farms in Oldham County in those days where he would pick up five or 10-gallon cans of milk and haul it to Louisville. He did this until dairies bottled their own milk and farms had huge tanks to store the milk in.

Oldham County Day Schedule

• Grand Marshal Luncheon: Noon Tuesday, July 14, at the John Black Community Center, Buckner. Tickets $12. RSVP at (502) 222-0023.

Friday, July 17
• YMCA Festival Race: 1-mile and 5K races begin and end at Covenant United Methodist Church, 909 W. Jefferson St. Entry fee $25. (502) 222-9358.
• Dancin’ in the Street Outdoor Concert: Live entertainment on Second Street beside the courthouse.

Saturday, July 18
• 7-10:30 a.m.: La Grange Rotary Club’s Pancake Breakfast. At La Grange City Hall, 307 W. Jefferson St.
• 10 a.m.: Oldham County Day Parade, downtown La Grange

Courthouse Lawn Gazebo
• 8:30 a.m.: Tom McShane
• 9:30 a.m.: “Into the Woods” by the St. Francis School students
• 11:30 a.m.: Kentucky Blue Belles
1:30 p.m.: Kentucky Blue Belles
2:30 p.m.: Bluegrass Jam

Courthouse Lawn          
• 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Living Statues
• 12:30 p.m.: 1 p.m.: Oldham County Community Band

Community/Vendor Booths
• 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.: More than 100 booths and food vendors will welcome festival-goers at the Courthouse Square

Children’s Carnivals
• La Grange Christian Church, 214 N. First St.
• DeHaven Baptist Church, 301 W. Main St.

“He did a lot of farm work, and managed farms for different farmers,” said Smith, 87. Her father managed 300 to 400-acre farms. “He loved to do it.”
Smith had two younger brothers who are now deceased. Harold moved to Texas and died in 1984 of a very rare form of cancer. Her other brother, John, had “lived all over the place,” she said. He moved back to La Grange after their parents died and passed away himself a couple of years ago.
Smith has seen a lot of change in her life and in Oldham County in the past eight decades. Her sweet, humble ways have encouraged others to nominate her as the Grand Marshal of this year’s Oldham County Day parade.
A Grand Marshal Luncheon will be held in her honor at noon Tuesday, July 14, at the John Black Community Center, 1551 N. Hwy. 393 in Buckner. Tickets are $12.
Oldham County Day is hosted each year by the Project Guild of La Grange and designed to celebrate community pride and to create a fun event for all ages. Project Guild chooses an Oldham County Day parade grand marshal by way of nominations from the community.
Smith said she had “no earthly idea why I was chosen as Grand Marshal.” She was surprised even though several people commented to her that they wondered why no one had bothered to call or nominate her for the honor. In Smith’s case, the old saying holds true: “Good things come to those who wait.”
Perhaps the timing was never right until now to honor Smith for the exceptional ways she has given back to the community.
Ann Brown Pickett, a Project Guild member who helps coordinate the Grand Marshal Luncheon, said she has known Smith for 25 years or longer. She first met her when Smith volunteered at the local hospital. “When I was clerk, she was one of my pole workers,” said Pickett.

Photo by Helen McKinney

Dot Smith will be honored at this year’s Oldham County Day on July 18.

Pickett said she volunteers her time and talent in so many ways. Volunteering was part of the reason she was nominated for Grand Marshal and “how she has portrayed Oldham County as being a loving, caring community, just like herself.”
“She is the sweetest, most caring person,” Pickett said. “She’s always thinking of others and what she can do for anybody she sees.”
Smith graduated from Oldham County High School in 1945. At the time, “it was the only school here.” All grades were taught there, with the high school being on the third floor.
After graduation, she went to work at Kentucky Central Insurance in Anchorage, Ky., where she remained for five years. She rode the bus to and from work and that is how she met her future husband, Joe Pat Smith. “He was coming back from Fort Knox,” she said.
There was a seat available next to Joe Smith, and she took it. “I got to talking to him, and it wasn’t long before he called me and we went out. We started dating in 1945 and married in 1948.”
They married in Upton, Ky., on Dec. 18, 1948. Joe was a World War II veteran, was in the Normandy Invasion and spent time as a POW in Germany.
Together they had three children: Patty, Roy and Joe. After the children were in school, Smith began working for the Bank of Oldham County in 1967. It later became Citizens Union Bank and then PNC Bank, where she retired in 1988.
While working for the bank, she had the idea to organize trips through Toby Tours. “The girls at the bank started talking about it,” she said of the initial idea. Smith thought to herself, “This is right up my alley. I’ve been in La Grange all my life and I can do this.”
She contacted Toby Tours and told them what she had in mind. “They told me that if I filled a bus, they would come there and take us wherever we wanted to go,” Smith said.
A group would gather between 4:30-5:30 a.m. at the Days Inn and later at McDonald’s to board the bus.
“There might be 25 that would board in La Grange, and more in Crestwood.” Smith went on every tour and visited places such as Branson, Mo., Niagara Falls, House on the Rocks in Wisconsin, Mackinac Island, Mich., various places in Amish country and Gatlinburg, Tenn.
“It was fun. We averaged two trips a year. I did this after retiring from the bank also.”
Smith has always been involved in church in some way. She recalled attending Sunday School at the La Grange Methodist Church and later teaching Sunday School.
Since her husband was the son of a Baptist minister, she thought it fitting to join the Baptist Church once they had married. She became a member of La Grange Baptist, which now sits on the hill on Commerce Parkway. “I loved the church,” she said.
Within two months of retiring from the bank, her husband told her, “You need to have something to do.” While he spent his retirement time playing golf, she decided to volunteer at Tri-County Baptist Hospital because she knew several people who did this.
“There have been a lot of changes there (at the hospital),” Smith said. “It has grown and improved and is really an asset. It’s been good for the community.”
Since 1988, Smith has logged 9,600 volunteer hours at the hospital. She has done a variety of different things, including assisting in the lab, working with medical records, working at the information desk, making pain pillows for patients to use after surgery, and crocheting baby blankets and caps for newborns. She can still be found every Tuesday volunteering at the hospital.
In addition, “The Senior Citizen’s Center called me and asked if I would consider volunteering by calling homebound people,” she said.  Every Friday for the last 15 to 20 years, she has been given a list of names she contacts every week for the TeleCare Program.
“Some of these people are in their 90s and have no family,” she said. “I enjoy talking to them.” Smith will send them birthday and Christmas cards as well as calling them consistently every Friday.
“I try to stay busy,” she said. Smith enjoys attending a Widow’s Luncheon that is held once a month by Heady Radcliff Funeral Home.
In her 87 years in Oldham County, she said the “county has grown a great deal. When I grew up, there was one school for high school and grade school. It was great. I can’t imagine having this many schools now.” She also sees the new CityPlace “as a great asset.”
She said the only shortcoming in the county is that there are no entertainment outlets for young people. She thinks there should be more options within the county for “as many young people as we have here.”
Smith is always thinking of others.

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