|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 April 1, 1911, in East Point, Georgia, to Charles Thomas and Elma Elizabeth Bailey nee Wootan, 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 October 27, 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.
Lessie Smithgall died at her Gainesville home on 25 June 2021 at the age of 110 years, 85 days. She was preceded by her husband who died in 2002.
- 110 years ‘lived fully and productively.’ Times co-founder Lessie Smithgall leaves legacy in Northeast Georgia
- Lessie (Bailey) Smithgall