Gwendolyn H. Smith

April 5, 1919January 17, 2011

Gwen Smith went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Jan. 17, 2011 at the age of 91. She was born April 5, 1919 in Bells, Texas.

She was preceded in death by her: Parents; Charlie and Cora; Husband, Herbert Lee Smith; Siblings; Onita (Sister) Tadlock, Lorene Wessell, Vera Lee Johnson, Eddith (Faye) Davenport, Edith Krause, Hazel Kennedy, and one brother, Raymond Hunt.

She is survived by her Daughters:

Cheri Kay Jarvie, Leah Gayle and son-in-law Lee Harrison, Deborah Diane and son-in-law Jack Chambers

Her Grandchildren: Scott Jarvie, Gregory Harrision and wife Diane, Bethany Harrison, John Christian Chambers and wife Sydney, Joel Chambers

Her Great grandchildren: Ryley Jane Chambers, Lucy Virginia Chambers, Jack Christian Chambers, Milly Frances Chambers, and April Wilson

And a host of beloved nephews and nieces.

She was a devout Baptist, pianist, Sunday school teacher, newspaper editor, poet, writer, cotton queen, boomer-sooner, and a “blue dog Democrat”. She is cherished by all of us. It was apparent early on that Gwendolyn was bright, whether it be excelling in school or fending for herself in the natural pecking order of her large family. This stood her in good stead in life, and left an indelible mark on our immediate and extended family. She taught herself to play the piano at age 4. She attended school in Tillman County, Oklahoma, skipped two grades, and graduated from Henderson consolidated #3 High School in 1935 at age 16. She was the Cotton Queen of Tillman County and had the highest entrance exam score in the history of University of Oklahoma in the year of ‘35. She attended the University of Oklahoma and Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant where she met and married Alton Pace in 1940. They had one daughter, Cheri Kay. Alton passed away in 1945. She relocated to Van Nuys California where she met and married Herbert Lee Smith of Hope Arkansas. They eventually moved back to Dallas Texas where two more daughters were born, Leah Gayle and Deborah Diane. Herbert Lee passed away in 1981. Gwen retired to Bonham Texas, close to her birthplace of Bells. She was active at Boyd Baptist church. She taught a ladies Sunday school class, wrote skits, poems, and a monthly newsletter, for the senior citizens. You will find copies of this newsletter in the archives of this church. She also was a docent at Sam Rayburn’s historical home in Bonham. Her last years were spent in Arlington, Texas, where she departed for her heavenly homecoming. Through the years Gwen used her academic prowess at various jobs but none suited her talents better than working for newspapers. Starting at age 18, she worked for the Frederick Press in Frederick, Oklahoma, the Texarkana Gazette, in Texarkana, Texas. and the San Gabriel Tribune in Southern California. Her job descriptions ranged from proofreader to State News Editor to the Society Editor. No matter where she was employed, she always seemed to be drawn back to publication. For the City of Dallas Streets and Sanitation Department, she composed and published their monthly newsletter. Gwen was equally loved by fellow workers and those she worked for. When it came to her dedication and efficiency, no matter the job, she did it with a cheerful disposition. The place her star really shines is with family. She was a loving sister, a dedicated Mother, a proud Grandmother, a doting Great-Grandmother, a much loved Aunt, and a devoted friend. She was a devout Christian (unshakable) who served the Lord with gladness. She was staunchly political (unflappable) and never flinched or waffled on tough decisions. You could depend on her to do the right thing as she saw it. Intellectual and witty, caring and considerate, we are still regaled by her stories, entertained by her theatrics, and inspired by her zest for life. Though her strengths were many, her contributions to her beloved church stand out. Whether playing the piano for worship services or Bonham’s nursing homes, teaching Sunday School classes, and while her children were growing up, directing Christmas pageants and directing Vacation Bible schools. or just demonstrating her faith by how she lived; these ministries portrayed who she really was and bears witness to her personal relationship with her Lord and Savior. Her daughters depended on her; the grandchildren adored her; her great-grandchildren enjoyed her; her sisters cherished her; her nieces and nephews admired her; her whole family loved her; her name was Virginia Gwendolyn Hunt Smith.


  • Visitation Sunday, January 23, 2011
  • Funeral Service Monday, January 24, 2011

Gwendolyn H. Smith

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Ralph Russell

January 24, 2011

My life is brighter for having known Grandma Gwen. I know ya'll are missing her. I just picture her meeting her Saviour and then meeting up with all her family and friends. She is so happy and free now. Love Ralph e.

Marilyn Smith-Douglas

January 24, 2011

I was sorry to hear about Gwen but what a life she lived. The Lord is with you during this difficult time and always.

Scott Jarvie

January 22, 2011

In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.