BILLIE CARPENTER SMITH
JUNE 30, 1917 – OCTOBER 7, 2011
Billie Carpenter Smith was the third of eight children – six girls and two boys. Billie was born in the Central Community of East Baton Rouge Parish. She did not marry a minister. Ted was a welder. However, under the leadership of a caring minister and the devout congregation of the Blackwater Methodist Church, Ted soon found his calling into the ministry. Billie soon found herself the mother of a son, Barry, and the wife of a minister to be. They spent the first years of this ministry serving student appointments while Ted completed his college and seminary studies.
Though with no formal training (there is no training for a minister’s wife), Billie assumed the role of a minister’s wife, gracing the parsonage, teaching Sunday School and working beside her husband in the activities of the church. She enjoyed the role and dedicated herself to the task. As in the case of the minister’s wife, she made many friends through the years.
Two almost fatal accidents marred their ministry. In a boating accident, Ted was gravely injured causing him to take disability for several years. During this time, they returned to the Central Community where they were under the watchful eyes of a caring family. After returning to the pastorate, Billie was injured in a near fatal auto accident. These experiences were tragic and yet gave them insight into the lives of those with similar experiences. Billie bore the effects of this accident until her death.
Upon retirement, the Smiths returned to the Central Community. There they attended the Blackwater Church and enjoyed the closeness to their family. Living not far away at the time, we enjoyed many opportunities together. We helped as they fixed up their retirement home. Ted also had the opportunity to fill numerous pulpits for ministers who were on vacation or who had illnesses. Following Ted’s death, Billie continued to live in their retirement home until health made it necessary for her to move the Zachary Manor Nursing Home. There, wheel chair bound, she soon made her way about learning the names and need among the patients. She was often found praying with some, reading the Bible to others or just spending time with those who were lonely and needed a lift. This became a special kind of ministry she seemed suited for and enjoyed it very much.
My wife, Myrtress, and I have many fond memories of Billie and Ted. Myrtress spoke by phone to Billie almost every week. As she recently told their son, Barry, she misses Billie very much. These were “special people” to us and we felt they were part of our extended family. e cherish the time we had together and mourn their passing. However, we are grateful to our Lord who brought us together and left us with these warm memories. Now, though living miles apart, we are developing a warm relationship with their son, Barry.
Rev. Calvin Lapuyade
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