Starla Smith, life-time resident, revels in being a grandmother |

Starla Smith, life-time resident, revels in being a grandmother

by Nancy Hamlett

The name Starla Smith should be synonymous with “grandmother.” A delightfully warm woman, Starla’s face lights up when she talks about children, any children.

“I’ve always loved babies,” said Smith, who has two grown children, Stephanie, 27 and Scott, 24. “My Aunt Ione used to tell me that I would make a good baby nurse.”

Over the years, Smith tested her Aunt Ione’s wisdom. She has been a friend and “nanny” to many neighborhood children.

“I retired from the county after Stephanie was born,” said Smith, “if you could call it retiring. I stayed home to take care of my children, and then somehow I ended up helping our friends by watching their children as well.”

At first, Smith wasn’t sure she had made the right decision. “We missed the money from my job, but then I looked at my children and knew it was right,” said Smith.

n Keeping her sanity. Over the years Smith has greeted a lot of children at her front door. How did she keep her sanity?

“When they walked in the door, it was a riot,” said Starla. “But they have such darling personalities.”

“I’m helping out the second generation now,” she said. “And I am fortunate to watch my grandchildren on a regular basis. We are one huge family.”

Smith is a native Nevadan, born in Gardnerville. When she was young she moved to Genoa, just a hop skip and a jump from the main intersection in town.

“My family surrounded us,” said Starla. “It seemed like there was a relative on just about every side.”

Of course, Smith could then claim to be related to most of Genoa’s residents. She is the fifth-generation of her family to be born and raised in the Carson Valley, and she is descended from such prominent families as Fettic and Mott.

“I don’t know how we are all related,” said Smith. “The Mormon Church is very big into genealogy, and one day I am going to figure it all out.”

Smith and her family live in a subdivision directly behind Raley’s in Gardnerville. She and her husband, Jerry, bought the house over 29 years ago. Daughter Stephanie and her husband, Steve Lee, live a few blocks away. The Lees own the Hairport in Gardnerville and have two children. Jeffery is 4, and Jarod is 7 months. Smith’s son, Scott, moved into a house just down the street with his wife Anna. Scott has his contractor’s license and is building his first spec home as Smico Construction. Anna works at Bentley Nevada. They have a 3 month-old child, Kaitlyn.

Smith jokes that when her children were younger she used to tell them that they could never move away.

n Dinner every Sunday. “But I didn’t mean that they had to live in the same neighborhood,” said Smith. “It’s convenient. We see each other a couple of times a week, and every Sunday we have dinner here. It’s a wonderful tradition.”

The Smiths recently bought a motor home. Smith is quick to point out that she didn’t buy the motor home with Jerry. Her grandson, Jeffery, did.

“According to Jeffery the motor home is his and Poppa’s,” laughed Smith. “And also according to Jeffery, he is the main boss. When Jerry and I go somewhere we take Jeffery along, and he tells me, ‘Grammy, you can sit in the back.'”

Smith hopes that when it is time for retirement, she and Jerry will be able to do a little traveling in the motor home.

“Of course by the time we retire Jeffery will have his driver’s license,” joked Smith. “And he will insist upon driving.”

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