Atmore loses beloved businesswoman
Published 8:05 am Sunday, February 10, 2002
By By ROBBIE BYRD
Those who knew her described Agnes Gibbs Smith as dedicated to three things: her business, her church and her family.
And according to friends and family, for 80 plus years that was her life.
Smith died Mon., Feb. 4 in Montgomery at the age of 88.
Smith was born in Marengo county in 1914 to John and Kittie Perkins Gibbs. She attended Escambia County High School and graduated from there in the late 1920's.
In 1934, along with husband Henley, Smith purchased a small building on the corner of Main Street and Louisville Avenue. For 54 years Smith and her husband specialized in selling all sorts of clothing goods, from shoes to skirts.
Maybe that's why some of those who knew her described her as the most elegant lady they had ever met.
"We used to eat together every Sunday, and we could never get to a table because everyone wanted to talk to her," said Sarah Gibbs Beyette, Smith's niece. "She looked like a celebrity.
"Aunt Aggie was such an elegant lady. She sparkled like a jewel during all the phases of her life."
Confident and headstrong, Smith was dedicated to her business. Friend Ernestine Miniard said that, other than her church work, Smith was a "workaholic."
"She loved to work," Miniard said. "It was her life."
A story passed around friends and family members describe an incident with a clothing line representative from New York who came to talk to Smith.
The salesman encouraged Smith to come to New York and see his company's clothing line.
Quickly, Smith responded: "I don't have time to come to New York. New York will have to come to me."
After closing The Greater Fair, the store her husband and herself had began decades ago, Smith decided to try her hand at another store. However, the thought of running a retail store without her husband was too much for Smith, and she decided to retire from the retail business and "kick up my heels."
"It's time I kicked up my heels," Smith said in an interview following the stores closure.
"I will never work in a retail store again," she said blinking back a tear.
Smith's services were held Thurs., Feb. 7 at First United Methodist Church, with burial at Oak Hill Cemetery.