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Woman reflects on 100 years
Smalenberger hit century mark Thursday
birthday
Mauda Jones Smalenberger, who turned 100 Thursday, shares a laugh with her son, Don, during a recent visit at Chestnut Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. - photo by Autumn McBride

 

While it may just be any other Thursday for most, it's a special day for Mauda Jones Smalenberger.

The resident of Chestnut Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is celebrating a century of life. She was born 100 years ago Thursday in Owensboro, Ky.

"I wonder how I got here," she said when asked how it feels to be 100.

Smalenberger has been at Chestnut Ridge less than a year. Prior to that, she lived with her son, Don Jones, and his family in Cherokee County.

She spent her childhood in Kentucky before her family moved to San Diego in 1924.

"I was a freshman in high school," she recalled.

After graduating from high school in 1928, she said her father "wanted to go back to Kentucky," so the family returned.

Soon after, she married Robert Jones, and spent some 23 years working in the banking industry.

The couple had two sons, Don and Bobby, who passed away in 2002.

Her husband was killed in a tractor accident in 1969. She remarried Ed Smalenberger when she was 67 years old.

Her son said his mother was active in church throughout her life, noting that she played the piano and organ for many years.

"She never missed a church service and I never did either when I was growing up," he said.

Smalenberger also loved to read and work in her garden.

Today, she has six grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

"They're sweet, sweet things," she said. "They have many more advantages than I did."

Don Jones said the family plans to gather for a birthday party Friday at Chestnut Ridge.