Minnie Dee Bowlin Smith, 102
Minnie Dee Bowlin Smith, born July 13, 1918, took her last earthly breath on August 30, 2020, at the age of 102. Minnie was born during America’s first pandemic at the end of World War I and died during America’s next pandemic.
Those historical bookmarks to her time on Earth are fitting: life was not easy for Minnie. She grew up during the great depression. Her parents were sharecroppers in West Texas and Shelby County. She attended Buena Vista and Huber country schools and graduated from Timpson high school. After high school she continued the harsh work of many rural Texans; alongside her husband, Lovis Bowlin, she raised cotton, tomatoes, and watermelons. She ran a dairy farm. She did factory work, packing tomatoes, manufacturing plywood products, and making Hallmark card displays. After retiring from Hallmark, Minnie held many odd jobs working at Center ISD cafeteria, home health care, and her daughter’s dress shop.
Her life’s harsher beginning would surprise those who met her later in life because Minnie had so much joy in her soul and love in her heart. The reason: Jesus. Minnie loved the Lord dearly, often saying in her final years that she was “ready to be with Jesus.” She was a member of the Timpson Missionary Baptist Church since the 1950s, where she took her children and taught Sunday School to many youth. Members of the church were family. Minnie found purpose in taking care of them in times of crisis, and they, in turn, supported her in words and deeds.
Minnie said goodbye to her sweetheart Lovis too soon. He died in 1981, only 69 years old, after several years struggling with Alzheimer’s. She was blessed with a second life mate, Hershel (“Son”) Smith, who made her laugh with his good-natured teasing, kept her mind sharp with his love of card games and dominoes, and gave her a second family that she loved as her own. Minnie and Son enjoyed traveling together, visiting nearby states like Tennessee, Colorado, and Oklahoma.
Since Son’s death, Minnie has lived in Paxton, Texas—initially, independently and, later, with her son, Jimmy, and his wife, Jean. Until she was almost 100 years old, she drove to church every week and to visit with her church friend and longtime pastor’s wife, Betty, during her weekly appointment at Callie’s hair salon. She loved to water her plants in the morning hours, feed the horses, and visit her neighbor and dear friend, Ruby, almost every afternoon. She loved writing and receiving hand-written notes, enjoyed phone calls from the many who loved her, and even learned to FaceTime and Zoom to keep up with grandchildren and great grandchildren as often as she could.
Minnie sometimes lamented the number of funerals for loved ones she attended, as happens when you are strong enough to make it to 102. Most heartbreaking was the loss of her beloved daughter, JoAnn, in 2004. But she also was “so proud” to have lived long enough to love on and know her 9 great grandchildren (ages 9 to 26).
Minnie was preceded in death by her parents, Jimmie D. and Lula Mitchell Ramsey, brother, F. M. Ramsey, sister, Zera Harrison, husbands, Lovis Bowlin and Hershel Smith, and daughter Jo Ann Eaton.
Minnie is survived by her son, Jimmy and wife Jean Bowlin, grandchildren, Sheila and husband Shannon Crawford, Leigh and husband David Davis, Lisa Hobbs and Jeff Hobbs, John Bowlin and wife Kim; great grandchildren Samantha Crawford, Alyssa Boser, Christian Boser, Andrew Davis, Kaytlin Davis, Matt Bowlin, Toby Bowlin, Lily Hobbs and Ellis Hobbs, as well as step children, Ron and wife Margaret Smith, and Hershey and husband Bob Cox.
Minnie’s long and well-lived life will be celebrated at a private family service in the cemetery behind her beloved church. Anyone wishing to honor Minnie may make a donation, in lieu of flowers, to Timpson Missionary Baptist Church’s Cemetery Fund. The Family is thankful for Cory Larson, from A Pineywoods Home Health, as well as the nurses and social-service providers at Affinity Hospice, who physically cared for Minnie and guided the Family in these last days.
One of Minnie’s favorite hymns was “Because He Lives,” which ends with these words:
And then one day I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain.
And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know he reigns.
Minnie has now seen the lights of glory and can claim victory over death through eternity in Christ.
To send condolences and sign the online guest book you may go to www.taylorfh.net.
Taylor Funeral Home, Timpson, is in charge of arrangements.