Geneva Catherine Smith Garner passed away peacefully on Nov. 24, 2008, in Gaithersburg, Md., at the age of 108 in the company of her beloved family, many of whom traveled from great distances to be with her in her passing.
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Geneva was born Sept. 30, 1900, in Coal City, Ind., the daughter of George Curtis Smith and Sue Hindman Smith. Upon graduation from high school, she attended Indiana State University, where she obtained a B.Ed.
She moved east to teach and there met and married Hal Rockhold Garner of Annapolis, Md. They had two daughters, Joanna and Sue.
Geneva taught for 45 years before retiring at the age of 65. She continued teaching adult literacy until she was 100 years old. In addition to teaching, she was a world traveler during summer breaks and continued to travel to new places until in her 90s.
Geneva was an active and alert individual throughout her life. On Nov. 4, 2008, she was the oldest recorded individual to vote in that U.S. presidential election, the last of 22 elections in which she voted. A lifelong Republican in all previous elections, she voted for Ralph Nader in protest of the Republican candidates.
Geneva was preceded in death by her mother; her father; her brothers: John, Herbert, Wayne, and Sampson Smith; her sister, Carmen Baker; and her daughter, Joanna Garner Evans.
She is survived by her daughter, Sue Garner Rodgers of Charleston, S.C.; six grandchildren: Dr. Barton Evans of Bozeman, Halee Evans Cordray of Moore, S.C., Robert Evans of Churchton, Md., Suzan Evans Whilden of Edgewater, Md., John Rodgers of Amagansett, N.Y., and Catherine Rodgers Giussani of Milan, Italy. Ten great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren also survive her.
Characteristic of her endless devotion to teaching, Geneva donated her body to the Anatomy Board of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
A private family memorial service celebrating Geneva's life will be held in the spring.
Memorials may be made in her name to Asbury Methodist Village, 201 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg, Md. 20877; to a local hospice; or to a charity of your choosing.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Dec. 2, 2008