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Because of the love of family and friends, Thed beat the odds

Thed was empowered by family, defied the odds to live on

Gigi Tinsley | 3/27/2014, 9 a.m.
Theodore H. Smith was born and raised in Overtown to loving and caring parents, Blonevia and Carl Smith 80 years ...
Theodore H. Smith with Juanita Smith and Michelle Haynes

Theodore H. Smith was born and raised in Overtown to loving and caring parents, Blonevia and Carl Smith 80 years ago. Theodore’s birthday was March 23 and he celebrated with family, friends and his church members.

“The love began for Thed (as he is affectionately called by family and friends) at birth and it has never stopped,” Courtney Johnson, Theodore’s loving cousin said. “He is my mother’s brother and they never considered casting him aside after. Real love was instilled in us when we were kids and it has never faded.

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Theodore with sisters Gloria and Juanita

Wherever they went, so went Thed. ”

Johnson now lives in Los Angeles, CA and because of her “love” for her cousin, she contacted the editor about letting the community know that Thed is alive and still doing well. Johnson works with children with Down Syndrome in L.A.

“Children with Down Syndrome want and need so much love and affection,” Johnson said. “ And, I have a whole lot to give them,” she added

Thed attended Phyllis Wheatley Elementary school and at the age of seven was shot in the eye with a BB gun. That shot caused Thed to not just lose the eye but “the specialist told our family that he also has brain damage,” Johnson said. “That accident took away Thed’s ability to read, write, count or do the seemingly common functions a person normally does. But despite his mental challenges he has lived a full and fruitful life.”

Being loved and supported by his family, Thed has accomplished many victories.

“He worked at “The Shack” theater on 15th for many years,” Danette Simmons, his cousin said. “He was the one that took up the tickets as patrons entered the theater.”

“He worked at the Fountainbleau Hotel for 30 years as a kitchen helper and took the bus to and from work, everyday.” Johnson said. “What is seen as a normal activity for the average person could have gone very wrong for Thed, “So, a longtime family friend taught him how to ride the bus to work, which he hardly ever missed.”

Unable to read or write, Thed had to again be taught how to sign his name in order to cash his checks and he learned how to do that.

“Another clever quirk about his dedication to the job was that he never used an alarm clock to wake himself up and was never late for work. He was very self sufficient regarding bathing and getting dressed,” Johnson added.

Thed is a Christian and loves the Lord very much. He is a member of the Outreach of Excitement Church, 1085 NW 62nd St., under the leadership if Pastor Lavaneya Kelly and always gets involved in the service with the clapping of his hands, singing with the choir or congregation and giving praises to the Lord with much joy and faith.

Thed volunteered at the food bank via Pass it On Ministries for five years because he was taught “to always help those who can’t help themselves.”

Since retiring, Thed enjoys walking, going to church and relaxing on on his front porch. He remembers his neighbors and waves to them as they pass by.

On your belated 80th birthday Thed, The Miami Times staff wishes you many more.