For NFL player and former Jay, hard work is tradition

‘He grew up wanting to work’

Justin Smith makes a tackle against Poplar Bluff in a home game on Oct. 3, 1997. Smith played for Missouri after graduating from Jefferson City High School.

Justin Smith makes a tackle against Poplar Bluff in a home game on Oct. 3, 1997. Smith played for Missouri after graduating from Jefferson City High School. Photo by News Tribune.

When San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith takes part in today’s Super Bowl, the former Jefferson City Jay and Missouri Tiger will show off the unrelenting style of play that has become his trademark.

photo

Justin Smith poses for his senior football photo in 1997.

But what’s not well-known is he may have inherited that propensity for hard work from his paternal grandmother. Whether hoeing weeds in the bean fields or canning tomatoes, no one outworked Virginia Smith, who died in 2009.

Justin’s parents recall his tenacity from an early age. “He was just a little bitty thing in diapers, but he grew up wanting to work,” David Smith, Justin's father, said.

Justin’s mother, Ginger Smith — who works as a P.E. teacher for the Jefferson City School District — remembers her young son struggling on the family farm to lift five-gallon buckets of cattle feed. All children have their own personalities; Justin’s quirk was his curiosity to see how strong he could be.

Read additional details in our newspaper or e-Edition. Newspaper subscribers: Click on an e-Edition article and log in using your current account information at no extra charge. For e-edition help, e-mail circ@newstribune.com. Click here to purchase the full version of archived articles.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Please review our Policies and Procedures before registering or commenting

News Tribune - comments