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At 105, Mpls Pastor Has No Plans To Retire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Sunday mornings at Wayman AME Church in Minneapolis brings a faithful crowd. But it's quite likely no one there has said as many prayers as Noah Smith. It's not just because he's a preacher, it's because he's had more time to worship – over a century in fact.

At 105, Smith is still hard at work, preaching at Wayman.

"My life is so busy with church and things now. I don't even get to read the paper sometimes," said Smith.

Despite his age, he hasn't been doing this forever. He was an artist, shined shoes and played music throughout the Midwest until a friend suggested he join the ministry.

"I said, 'Minister?' I'm 49 years old. God wanted me to be a minister. Why didn't he tell me before now? He said, 'He did tell you, you was too dumb to listen,'" said Smith.

Smith said the job and his schedule keep him from feeling old.

There is one more factor right on the second row. His wife, Hallie, is 95. She still drives and wears her trademark high heels to church. They got together in 1981 after losing their spouses. Smith still makes her breakfast every single day and she takes care of dinner.

It's not that he's got it all figured out. That's the point he tries to get across at the pulpit.

"Take every situation and take victory in it because there's a lot of things we don't know," said Smith.

What he does know is that most of his life on Earth is behind him, but he says death does not scare him.

"I look forward to it … to the good part where it leads to," said Smith.

His work here, however, is not done. He's got a wife, a good job, a good life - and more than 100 years of experience on how to live it.

"Just get up every day and whatever doors open, whatever has to be done, do it. Whatever comes tomorrow, I don't worry about it (laughs)," Smith said.

Smith has no plans to retire -- ever. He said he tried that once when he was 90 and it didn't work out too well.

So, if you'd like to see him in action, he preaches at Wayman, located at 1221 7th Avenue North, about once a month.

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