Born Oct. 20, 1918, Mary Katherine (Smith) Jennings will celebrate her centennial birthday Saturday and has lived her entire life within a few miles of where she was born in Fallston.
Jennings, who goes by Katherine, grew up on a farm where the Youth’s Benefit Elementary School, Fallston Rec Complex and Roni Chenowith Center are now. Some of her fondest memories are spending time with her cousins on that farm.
“We had a stream that ran through the property and we fixed a big swimming hole where we would all go swimming together, it was just a great life, Jennings said as she sat back and relaxed in her favorite chair.
She loves the winter time and especially sledding, which she continues to do to this day with her family by her side to enjoy the fun.
“On the farm, we always went sledding, I just love the snow. It’s invigorating to get out there in the fresh air and go down the hill.
Jennings has lived in the same house in the 2100 block of Carrs Mill Road for 82 years. She married her late husband Gene Jennings, in 1940 and has one child, Karen Lloyd, who also now lives in the area.
Jennings worked for 25 years as a secretary at Aberdeen Proving Ground. She has always been active in her church, teaching Sunday school and being a youth counselor and credits her faith as one of the reasons why she is still here today.
One of the biggest changes Jennings says she’s seen in the county is the amount of building and development and how many people have moved here.
When asked what she likes best about living in Harford County, Jennings quickly responded “the friendly people,” with a chuckle and large smile coming to her face. “I’ve met a lot of wonderful people living here.”
One fond memory she shared was traveling in 1976 on a wagon train in a Prairie Schooner wagon she and her husband owned to Valley Forge, Pa., for the American Revolution Bicentennial. In that year, several wagon trains came from different areas of the country and converged in Valley Forge for the July Fourth 1976.
“I’m thankful I have good health and my right mind. I’ve had a happy life and I have no regrets, I’ve just been blessed,” Jennings said.
Jennings plans to enjoy her 100th birthday in a celebration with friends and family at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Bel Air on Sunday.