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HopeHealth Celebrates Its Oldest Patient

Fred Allen Smalls recently turned 106 and people are celebrating, including his doctor.

One of seven children, Mr. Smalls was born on February 5, 1918. He attended school in Plantersville in a little no-name building in the woods. Mr. Smalls later moved to Mullins where he attended Mullins High School and completed the 8th grade before moving to Washington, D.C.

He worked several jobs before finding his life-long job with the District of Columbia and retired in the 1960s when John F. Kennedy was President.

Mr. Smalls has been recognized and celebrated by several news outlets and community organizations for his accomplishments and longevity. In October 2023, he was featured in an NBC News article entitled “Black People are Beating the Odds by Turning 100 – and They’re Celebrating on TikTok.” ABC News also featured him as the oldest Philadelphia Eagles fan and had an early 106th birthday celebration with pre-season passes and the opportunity to meet and greet star players in September 2023.

In February 2024, Mr. Smalls was awarded an honorary diploma from Georgetown High School. More than 100 people attended the graduation ceremony, and WPDE’s Tonya Brown covered the story.

He now lives with his granddaughter, Birdella Kinney, and their dog, Bella, in Marion, SC. He enjoys watching football, boxing, Western films, and eating good soul food. His granddaughter is very involved in his care and takes him to appointments at HopeHealth with his health care provider Dr. Paul DeMarco. “It’s been a privilege to be part of Mr. Smalls’ health care team. He is the healthiest centenarian I’ve ever cared for. It was a joy for me and my wife to attend his 106th birthday party. The banquet room was filled with family, friends, and well-wishers, and our love for Mr. Smalls was palpable,” said DeMarco.

“To be an African American male at 106 years old in good health, in and of itself, is remarkable,“ states Kinney. Only around 1 in every 30,000 people in the US live to age 105 or older. Smalls attributes his longevity to maintaining happiness and moderation in all he does. He also says one of his biggest life lessons includes letting people walk away who didn’t want to be his friend. “Just kind of brush them over nicely,” said Smalls.

“Well, I would say, keep a cool head,” Smalls also advised. “Take care of your own business. Don’t dip into other people’s affairs — and let go.” For people wanting to live longer, his advice is clear, “Live happily!”



HopeHealth educates its patients on the importance of having a health care home. As a primary care facility, HopeHealth’s medical team works to prevent and detect illness and the early onset of disease, provide routine physical examinations and promote overall healthy lifestyles.

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HopeHealth 360 North Irby St. Florence, SC 29501 (843) 667-9414
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