Tribute to Scotland's oldest man who has died aged 111
Published on 5 August 2019
Scotland’s oldest man has died at the age of 111.
Albert Smith, known as Alf, celebrated his last birthday on March 29 - the same day as Britain's other oldest man, Robert Weighton.
His minister, Rev Marc Bircham of St Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church, paid tribute to the former lorry driver and farmer.
Mr Smith, who died on Saturday night, credited porridge, having an enjoyable job and supportive friends and family for his long life.
A resident of St Madoes in Perthshire, the supercentenarian joined the Kirk in 1945 and became an Elder in 1967.
“Alf was a wonderful character who brought great joy to all who had the privilege of knowing him,” said Mr Bircham.
“He was just an incredible individual – one of the most wonderful people you could ever meet.
“A most welcoming and encouraging man who was a great supporter of the local church and served as an Elder for many years.”
Mr Smith was born in Invergowrie in 1908 and was the fifth of six sons of John and Jessie Smith.
He was educated at Invergowrie Primary School and Harris Academy, Dundee.
Mr Smith emigrated to Canada, along with four of his brothers, in 1927 but returned after five years and went on to drive lorries for his brother, George.
During the Second World War, he was in the Home Guard, and married Isobel when he was 29.
The couple went on to farm at Kinfauns where they raised two children, Irene and Allan.
Allan, who worked with his dad on the farm for 40 years, passed away last year.
Mr Smith retired at the age of 70 but continued to go to the farm until well into his eighties.
The minister said local primary school children loved visiting Mr Smith and hearing stories from his youth.
“One time I visited him when he was 97 and he was in a dilemma over purchasing a new cooker,” he added.
“He sought my advice as to taking out a five or ten year warranty and I said he should be optimistic and go for the 10.
“I am delighted that he outlived that."
Mr Bircham also recalled the time when Mr Smith suggested that he capitalise on his fame to charge people £2 to shake his hand to raise money for the church.
“It has been a great privilege to be both his friend and his minister," he said.
“Family, neighbours and his many friends will miss him greatly.”
Mr Smith was presented with a long service certificate in 2017 by Very Rev Dr Russell Barr, who was the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.