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Linda JoAnn Smith is free from pain since her Lord and Savior unexpectedly called her home July 20 to volunteer for Him and to tend His gardens and kitchens. Saddened survivors are husband Joe Lee Smith of Tyler; sister Becky Travis (Grayson), DeQuincy; in-laws Shirley and Charles Manning of Page, AZ; nephew Trey Manning (Rie), Tacoma, WA.; great nephew Jacob Cupstid, Lake Charles, LA.; and, nieces Cyd Manning, Mesa, AZ; and, Rebecca Smith and Suzanne Smith, Austin; and many cousins. JoAnn was pre-deceased by her parents Thurston T. and Sue Haley Smith of Fields, LA. Born in Beaumont on August 6, 1942, JoAnn was raised in Fields, LA. where she graduated from Hyatt high school in 1960 and then from Northwestern Louisiana College. Armed with a Home Economics degree, she began a 31-year career with Gulf States Utilities in Beaumont in 1965 and played a lead role in the company's annual Homemaker Holiday event before capacity crowds. At the time of retirement, JoAnn was manager of Consumer Affairs where she worked closely with the Public Utility Commission and state and local utility agencies . JoAnn was involved with numerous national professional and volunteer organizations and served several agencies as President, including the Lamar Women's Club. She was most proud for being a 1986 graduate of Leadership Texas which she served in various capacities many years and, also, Leadership Beaumont. JoAnn considered her most important volunteer service to be with mental health associations. She received the Excellence Award in Beaumont and the Angel Award from the Andrews Center in East Texas. A member with many Women's organizations, JoAnn's favorites were the Women's Fund and Women in Tyler. As an avid lifetime gardener, JoAnn enjoyed membership in various garden clubs and served a stint on the Board of Directors for the Azalea Society of America and a term as President of the Texas Azalea group. When JoAnn and Joe Lee married in 1968, it unintentionally became a national news (CBS, AP) affair. Besides the two Smith families, one from Louisiana and the other from East Texas, the bride's sister married a Smith who was the pastor officiating the ceremony. The groom got his outfit from Smith's Tuxedo rental and the church in DeQuincy was located on Smith Street. After 40 years in Beaumont, the Smiths retired to Emerald Bay on Lake Palestine where they enjoyed 15 enjoyable years and moved to Tyler in late 2015 so JoAnn could have the type garden she always wanted. A lifelong Christian, she was a breast cancer survivor and suffered various physical pains for two decades that prevented her from being in regular attendance at Green Acres Baptist, her home church of the past three years.
The family will receive friends Thursday, July 25, 2019 beginning at 10:00 a.m. until the time of the funeral service which will begin at 11:00 a.m. at Riley Smith Funeral Home, 1810 West Fourth Street, Dequincy, Louisiana. Interment will follow at Masonic Cemetery, Dequincy, Louisiana.