Thelma Pride Smithhart


Thelma Pride Smithhart

Funeral services for Thelma Pride Smithhart, 95, of Lufkin will be held Monday, May 19, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. in the Carroway-Claybar Funeral Home Chapel with Reverend Jimmy Hedges and Reverend Aubrey Knox officiating. Interment will follow in the Carrell Cemetery in Huntington.

Mrs. Smithhart was born January 18, 1913 in the Manning Community, Angelina County, Texas to Lee and Mollie (Walker) Pride, and went home to be with her Savior Saturday, May 17, 2008.

Following graduation from Manning High School and Tyler Commercial College, Mrs. Smithhart began her business career working in the law offices of J.J. Collins during the Great Depression. As times were bad, she worked a month for experience before being put on the payroll. She then worked six and one-half years for Homer Garrison in the District Clerk's office for Homer Garrison Abstract Company. Following that position, she began her 28-year tenure as church secretary at Lufkin's First Baptist Church, serving under pastors Dr. James M. Bradford, Dr. Arthur DeLoach and Reverend Charles McIlveene. During these years, she served in various capacities in the church, Unity Baptist Association, District and State Women's Missionary Union, and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Pineywoods Baptist Encampment. Mrs. Smithhart had been an influential member of First Baptist Church since 1942 where she also was a member of the church choir and department officer in several Adult Sunday School departments.

An active member of the community, she was a member of the Cut 'n Grow Garden Club, Luncheon Pilot Club, and served as Fund Campaign Director for the American Heart Association, Texas Affiliate, for two years following the April 1, 1970 death of her husband, Ray Smithhart, from a coronary thrombosis. Mrs. Smithhart retired in 1983 as Vice-President and Assistant Manager of Security and Guaranty Abstract Company. She then worked part time for Gus Boesch Realty and volunteered as a HOSTS mentor at Brandon Elementary, sharing her love of reading with children.

Affectionately known as "Shug" to her family and close friends, a nickname given by her father, she was an avid bird watcher, excellent cook, and talented piano player who loved working in her flower gardens. She took great joy in maintaining her Mama and Papa's homestead in Shawnee Prairie and hosted many memorable family and holiday gatherings at the farm, serving as a true matriarch. She will be most remembered for her dedication and devotion to her church and serving the Lord.

She is survived by her sister, Vela Mae Jordan of Lufkin; nieces, Elaine Nolte of Keller, Jeanette Dorman of Lufkin and Charlie Mae Dolben and husband David, also of Lufkin; great-nephews, Michael Dorman, Kevin Dorman and John Mahan, all of Lufkin, and Bill Nolte of Keller; great-nieces, Cheryl Dorman Donnell of Lufkin and Kathy Nolte McGahran of Keller; and nine great-great nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ray Smithhart; and brother, Lynn Pride.

Pallbearers will be Michael Dorman, Kevin Dorman, John Mahan, Bill Nolte, Delbert Parrott and David Bradford.

Honorary pallbearers will be Judd Mahan, Jace Mahan, Clark Dorman, Luke Dorman, Evan Dorman and Justin Donnell.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice in the Pines, 116 South Raguet Street, Lufkin, Texas 75904 or Lufkin's First Baptist Church Building Fund, 106 East Bremond Avenue, Lufkin, Texas 75901.

The family will welcome friends and loved ones from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Sunday evening at the funeral home.

Carroway-Claybar Funeral Home, Lufkin, directors.