Face to Face: Irma Lucille Pudwill Smith
Name: Irma Lucille Pudwill Smith
Born: Pudwill was born March 16, 1928, in Avon, S.D.
Family: She wed Herbie Smith in 1972. They were happily married for nearly 45 years. Herbie Smith died in 2016. Irma and Herbie blended their two families together to include six children. She has enjoyed their 15 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Occupation: A beautician for 35 years, she owned salons in Tonganoxie and McLouth and graduated from the Hays School of Hairstyling in Shawnee Mission. She had two floral shops, Town and Country in Tonganoxie and McLouth Flower Loft in McLouth.
She also styled and cut hair for 10 years at Tonganoxie Nursing Center. She truly enjoyed this time, and said it was a joy and she loved how much the women appreciated her and waited for her to be there.
Interesting fact: Herbie and Irma built their house by hand themselves. She was a cheerleader for four years and homecoming queen in a town of 500 people.
Smith loved the floral shop and designing. She has always been creative and loves making any old things beautiful.
Digging Deeper: Smith has a bone to pick with her granddaughter last week as word spread of a 90th birthday surprise party .
“You know grandma doesn’t tell her age,” Smith said with a laugh.
Smith figured out that a party was happening in her honor. Some 34 family members attended the party Saturday at Grand Street Cafe in Lenexa.
“Oh, it was wonderful, just totally wonderful,” she said, as many more offered well-wishes through cards or Facebook posts. The family also was able to watch the University of Kansas basketball game that night — she never misses a game.
She and her husband loved to travel after they retired, particularly to Las Vegas and Arizona. They traveled to 46 states and Mexico. They also enjoyed being closer to home spending time at the lake with friends and family. They spent many summers at their vacation farm in Oskaloosa where they built tree swings and had fun adventures for their grandchildren and family.
“One of the reasons why we moved here from Missouri was because of the schools,” Smith said, noting that the swimming pool was a big draw for her children, who all graduated from Tonganoxie High School. She had six children and seven grandchildren who graduated from Tonganoxie. There are four great-grandchildren who currently are enrolled in the Tonganoxie school district.
Smith also was known for hosting Sunday night dinners every week for her family. In her spare time, she enjoys Bunco Nights with friends and the Red Hat Society. She also loved to bowl. And though Smith liked to travel, she also is a fan of relaxing with friends and family.
As for any advice or theories about her longevity, she said she stayed busy raising her children
“That keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure,” Smith said.