“I always got pleasure out of my work,” Lavarnway said. “I was doing what I liked to do.”
Smith, 82, said that her mother and her family always placed an importance on helping others.
“Something our family did well was share. It was a good lesson to learn,” Smith said. “When people would come to the house for food, we would give it to them.”
As a child, Lavarnway attended a one-room schoolhouse in Ingraham and went to Chazy Central Rural School until she was 16, when she left to work, Smith said.
Lavarnway enjoyed learning about different places.
“I liked geography. It took you around to different states,” she said.
Later in her life, Lavarnway had the opportunity to travel the United States, but she can’t pick a favorite state.
“They all had something different to see,” Lavarnway said.
She and her second husband, Thomas Lavarnway, who died about 30 years ago, loved to dance. She remembers square-dancing around the country and specifically in Texas.
“She enjoys seeing and doing different things,” Smith said. “She’s been to Ireland, the Holy Land, Turkey, Greece.”
Reflecting on her life, Lavarnway said, “Live it a day at a time.”
“I thought she would say, ‘Work hard,’” Smith said. “She used to say, ‘Work hard, and enjoy each day.’”