Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gertrude lifted her eyes upward and she said: 'Take me home, sweet Jesus'

Gertrude Fowler Smith
Gertrude Elizabeth Fowler was born to Mosell (Mose) Fowler and Leora (Leola) Powell-Fowler, September 11, 1920 in Bastrop, Texas. She was the second daughter, and sister to four brothers Johnny Mose Fowler, Isiah Fowler, Raymond Fowler, Mike Fowler and sister Imogene Fowler.

She attended Austin public schools. According to the 1914 Scholastic Census for Year, beginning September 1, 1914, AISD was located in Del Valle. Mothers and fathers were responsible for bringing their children to school and picking up them up after school. Gertrude was six years old.

Leora, Gertrude's mother, was a member of Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church ever since I could remember. So naturally her children were raised in the Baptist faith. I've heard Gertrude say she sang in the choir, but her she was not a faithful church goer. Other kinds of music was on her mind; music that she could dance and pop her fingers to. She loved to dance. So did her mother, Leora, in her younger years.

Gertrude, called "Muhdear" by her children and grandchildren, loved to play bingo, cards and take trips to Las Vegas to play the slot machines. She was impressed with her first trip to Vegas, and for good reason. We were at the Golden Nugget downtown. After playing less than an hour she hit a jackpot for $1,600. She was hooked! She had never been on a plane before going to Vegas, but she was willing to catch a plane for another trip.

Gertrude was married three times. At age 18 she married my father Willie Charles on January 31, 1938. He was laborer from Muskogee, Oklahoma.  She later married Clarence Singleton,  February 11, 1946. He who worked at the Oil Mill about six blocks from where we lived on East 7th Street. They had no children together. Her last husband was Ernest Smith, Sr. They had three children: Kaffey, Ernest, Jr. and Rose Ann, whose twin died at birth.

Gertrude departed this life early Friday morning, February 9, 1990 in her home after a brief illness. She died of thyroid cancer. I have always heard about the "calm before the storm" when the talk is about death. Hours before her death Gertrude had a burst of energy. She had not eaten in a few days, but on the 8th of February she wanted some corn and a sweet roll. Then came the storm. During the early morning hours Gertrude died peacefully.

Marie got to her house before me. She said Gertrude was alive, barely breathing. She told Marie that she was not ready to go. She had to take care of her children. All of her children were grown. Marie told her that her children could take care of themselves. She told told her she could go home, after which she looked at something or someone in a corner of the bedroom, and said "Take me home sweet, Jesus."

Gertrude Fowler Smith is survived by daughters: Leora Marie Ockletree, Kaffey Smith-Nunn, Rose Ann Smith, Dorothy Charles Banks; one son Ernest Smith Jr., a brother Johnny Mose Fowler, 14 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and a host of friends and other relatives.

She Smith is preceded in death by her husband Ernest Smith, Sr., of Cass, Texas, her grandson Terrance Jermaine Smith, age two, her parents Mose (Mozell) Fowler, Leora Fowler-Sterling, three brothers Raymond Fowler of Lorain, Ohio, Isiah Fowler of Washington, D.C., Mike Fowler of Los Angeles, her grandmother Pearl Powell Brown of Bastrop.

Funeral Service was held at King Tears Chapel, Tuesday, February 13, 1990, at 2PM. Rev. 

Replica of funeral service

In Memory of Our Mother

Gertrude Fowler Smith

September 11, 1920-January 9, 1990

Lifting her eyes upward, she said: 
"Take me home, sweet Jesus. . ."

King tears Mortuary Chapel

Tuesday, February 13, 1990
2:00 PM

If you reach for God's hand
in the darkness,
He will show you the light.

Gertrude Fowler Smith was born to Mosell and Leora Clark Fowler, September 11, 1920 in Austin, Texas. She as the second daughter of one sister and four brothers. She attended Austin public schools, and was raised up in the Baptist faith.

She departed this life Friday morning, February 9, 1990 in her home after a brief illness.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, three brothers, a grandson and her husband, Ernest Smith, Sr.

Gertrude Fowler Smith is survived by daughters Marie Ockletree, Cathy Smith Nunn, Rose Ann Smith, Dorothy Charles Banks,;one son Ernest Smith, Jr; fourteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren, a brother, Mosell "Cluck" Fowler and a host of nieces and nephews, all of Austin.

Funeral services will he held at King Tears Chapel, Tuesday, February13, 190, 2:00 PM.


Order of Service 

Processional                                 Precious Lord

Solo                                           Rev. John Daniel

Scripture                                      Rebecca Berry

Family Tribute  read by                              Gigi Wilkins

Eulogy                                      Rev. John Daniel

Recessional                                   Precious Lord

God Made Sure Your Cross Was Not to Heavy

A Tribute to Our Mother
by Dorothy Charles Banks

Your last hours were fretful. So were ours, as we watched you slipping away from us. As hours dwindled into minutes, and minutes into seconds, your fretting worsened, so did our fear. You had earthly business to take care of, but you did not have the physical voice to speak. Suddenly, your voice was found. You looked up when a voice spoke to you, a voice our humans ears could not hear.

You said, "No, Lord. I’m not ready. I can't leave my children." You were concerned they would not make it without you. Marie, your second daughter said, "Your children will be alright." You needed to hear that confirmation. It was your permission to travel to the other side. You did not have to try and strike a bargain with God.

Relieved, you looked upward in God's face and said, "Take me home, sweet Jesus." And he took you home to his heavenly Kingdom. And you fretted no more. You fretted no more.
         Pall Bearers

Ernest Smith, 111                                      Pete Smith
Bryant Rucker                                           Lynn Murray
James Smith                                               Kevin Finely


Perhaps you sent a lovely  card
Or sat quietly in a chair;
Perhaps you sent a floral piece
If so, we saw it there.
Perhaps you spoke the kindest words,
As many friends could say;
Perhaps you were not there at all
Just thought of us that day.
Whatever you did to console our hearts,
We thank you, whatever the part.

Officiating                                                                        Rev. John Daniel

Internment                                                                            Evergreen Cemetery

Pictured: Gertrude's husband, Ernest Smith, Dorothy Charles Banks and Marie Ockletree, Rose Ann Smith Daniels (daughters) Ernest Smith, Jr. (son) and Kaffey Smith Nunn (daughter).

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