|Birth:||1 April 1911|
East Point, Georgia, USA
|Death:||25 June 2021|
Gainesville, Georgia, USA
|Age:||110 years, 85 days|
Celestia Bailey (Lessie) Smithgall was born in East Point, Georgia, USA on 1 April 1911, to Charles Thomas and Elma Elizabeth (née Wootan) Bailey, but grew up in Atlanta’s West End. Early on, she developed an interest in nature, music, books and the arts, influenced considerably by her father, Charles Thomas Bailey, an Atlanta city councilman, who often took her to the opera and the zoo. As councilman, he was overseer of the city’s parks, including Grant Park. She graduated cum laude from Girls High School in 1929 and entered journalism school at the University of Georgia. She served as president of Women’s Student Government, and graduated in 1933.
She married Charles Smithgall on 27 October 1934 at Druid Hills Baptist Church. The Smithgalls founded the Gainesville Daily Times on 26 January 1947, after purchasing the weekly Gainesville Eagle. They had four children: Bay, Thurmond, Charles III and John. She developed notable philanthropic action and she was devoted to the protection of nature, arts, culture and her own community. She got widowed in 2002.
Smithgall died at her home in Gainesville, Georgia, USA on 25 June 2021 at the age of 110 years, 85 days.
- 110 years ‘lived fully and productively.’ Times co-founder Lessie Smithgall leaves legacy in Northeast Georgia Gainesville Times, 25 June 2021
- Lessie (Bailey) Smithgall Obituary Little & Davenport Funeral Home and Crematory