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Elouise Beard Smith







Jan. 8, 1920 – Nov. 3, 2007

Elouise Beard Smith, 87, of Bryan, Brazos County, Texas passed away at her home on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007. Services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan, followed by a brief graveside service at College Station Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan.

Elouise was born in Richmond, Fort Bend County, Texas, across the Brazos River from the site of Stephen F. Austin’s Fort Bend, and she developed a lifelong interest in Texas history and the history of her own family. She was an accomplished athlete and excelled in softball, golf, tennis, gymnastics and equestrian activities. She pitched for the Fort Bend County State Championship Softball Team when she was in high school. (Note: she was a teenager in the 1930s!)

Elouise attended Texas State College for Women in Denton, Texas, for two years. She returned home for a summer job with the First National Bank of Rosenberg, where she met and married Omar Smith, a local Boy Scout executive.

Together, Omar and Elouise established several restaurants. After moving to Bryan in 1947, they were among the earliest owners of a Dairy Queen franchise in Texas. From their first walk-up ice cream stand at Northgate across from Texas A&M University, they built Smith Dairy Queens, a chain of 35 Dairy Queen stores across Texas, one of the largest family-owned Dairy Queen chains in the world.

Elouise hosted the first Texas Dairy Queen Trade Association Convention in her home in Bryan in 1951 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 from International Dairy Queen and TDQTA for her contributions to the Dairy Queen brand.

While Omar Smith was the Texas A&M Tennis Coach from 1959 to 1974, Elouise provided a home-away-from-home for hundreds of student athletes. Whenever a tennis player needed a good meal or a bed or a place to study or relax, she opened her home gladly and provided loving care and encouragement to an entire generation of young men.

Elouise was honored in 1985 with the naming of the Elouise Beard Smith Human Performance Laboratory in the College of Education of Texas A&M University. She was a charter member of the American Association of University Women and a member of Who’s Who in America.

She was one of the first supporters of womens athletics at Texas A&M and was a charter member and lifelong supporter of the Maroon Club. In 1990, the City of Bryan dedicated the Elouise Beard Smith Softball Field at Travis Park.

Elouise was a nationally known genealogist and consulted with hundreds of colleagues across the country. She traveled extensively across America and England cataloging her own family tree and located 120 grandparents in all her lines. She continued to add to her family history until her death and located graves and placed tombstones for more than 15 relatives in Limestone County alone.

In later years, Elouise developed an interest in locating and preserving small Texas cemeteries; once they were located, she would work with local residents to hold memorials and raise money for their restoration and preservation. Tidwell Cemetery in Limestone County near Thornton was covered in brush and yaupon when she found it, and it is now on Texas highway maps and is a beautiful place of history and peaceful reflection for the families of relatives buried there.

In the midst of an incredibly active life, her greatest joy came from making a home, entertaining and cooking for family and friends, filling her garden with beautiful flowers and serving others at every opportunity. Everyone she met became a friend for life.

Elouise was a lifelong Baptist with ties to First Baptist Church of Rosenberg, First Baptist Church in Bryan and her final church home, First Baptist Church of College Station. Her faith in Christ was precious to her and guided her and comforted her throughout her life.

Elouise was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, Omar Smith; her father and mother, Lee Roy Beard and Ruby Foy Beard; her brother, R.L. Beard; and two grandchildren, Natalie Renee Smith and Christopher Kindt Smith. She is survived by her brother and two sisters-in-law, Leldon and Marjorie Beard and Carolyn Beard all of Rosenberg; her daughter, Mary Jean Smith Cherry of Dallas; two sons and daughters-in-law in Bryan, Terry Omar Smith and Karen Louise Kindt Smith and Don Alan Smith and Monie Sue Mitchell Smith; her grandchildren, Jeremy Omar Smith and Heather Louise Smith Barron of Bryan and Eva Beverly Cherry of Dallas; three great-grandchildren, Morgan Marie Smith, Madison Elaine Smith and Olivia Louise Barron, all of Bryan; numerous nieces and nephews and hundreds of friends and extended family, including her lifelong best friend and the catcher on her high school softball team, Moydale Neuman McNutt of Rosenberg.

The family requests that memorials be made to Tidwell Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 3788, Bryan, Texas 77805, Hospice Brazos Valley, 502 W. 26th Street, Bryan, Texas 77803 or the charity of your choice.

Published in The Bryan-College Station Eagle on 11/5/2007.

On this date in 1985, beloved “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little” author E.B. White died of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 86. A wonderful article in the New York Times appeared soon after. My favorite comments:

  • “He loved his farm, his farm animals, his neighbors, his family and words.”
  • “He could be outspoken and passionate on subjects that were especially close to his heart – the freedom and integrity of the press, personal privacy and liberty, the intrusion of advertising, market surveys and commercialism into everyday living, the conservation of nature, the need for some form of world government. His opponents often succumbed before the force of his purity, ridicule, regret and common sense.”
  • “He never wrote a mean or careless sentence. He was impervious to literary, intellectual and political fashion. He was ageless, and his writing was timeless.
  • “Mr. White turned out some of the most moral, living prose produced by hand in the country.”

What does E.B. stand for? Elwyn Brooks. But his friends called him “Andy”. Click here to read the entire New York Times article by Herbert Mitgang which includes quotes by William Shawn, at that time the editor of the New Yorker magazine.  

Dansby March 30, 1911 – August 9, 2007

Gussie O. Dansby, a lifelong resident of Brazos County, passed into the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to a joyful reunion with her beloved husband, Horace P. Dansby Jr., on Thursday, August 9, 2007 at the age of 96. Services will be conducted by the Rev. Tim Owens at 2 p.m. Monday, August 13 at First Baptist Church in Bryan with burial to follow at Kurten Cemetery, a cemetery founded by Gussie’s grandfather, Henry Kurten.

She was born in Kurten, Texas, on March 30, 1911, the fifth of six children to Dr. and Mrs. Willie F. Odom. Her musical talents were recognized at an early age when she played organ and piano accompaniment as a pre-teen in her Kurten Church. She graduated from Bryan High School and attended Baylor University.  She married her high school sweetheart, Horace Dansby, in February 1933. During their courtship, Gussie recalled attending Texas A&M vs. Baylor football games when Horace played quarterback for the Aggies, and cheering for the Aggies while secretly praying for the Bears.

Horace and Gussie had four children: Ann, Horace III, Norma and Danny. While she had high standards and expectations for her family, she balanced them beautifully with her warm love and affection. After Horace’s death in 2001, Gussie continued to provide encouragement, spiritual and financial aid to her children and rapidly expanding family. She often referred to her family (tree), comparing it to a Christmas tree: She was the top ornament and her children were the branches. Her grandchildren were the lower branches and her great-grandchildren filled out the bottom branches of the tree.

Her tree currently includes her children, Ann Kelbly of Bryan, Dr. Horace P. Dansby III of Fort Meyers, Fla., Norma Smith and husband, Richard, of Bryan, and Dr. Daniel M. Dansby and wife, Gray, of Dallas; 14 grandchildren, John Kelbly and wife, Elaine, Kay Kelbly, Carolyn Bates and husband, Darren, Jeff Kelbly and wife, Kelly, Rachel Goode and husband, Mark, Leah McAlister and husband, John, the Rev. Jonathan Dansby and wife, Amelia, Ami Brimhall and husband, Joe, Jennifer Sue Briggs and husband, Stephen, Sandra Singer and husband, Jeff, Diane Engdahl and husband, Eric, Sharon Pittman and husband, Steve, Katherine Powell and husband, Brad, and Emily Kaler and husband, Jacob; and 28 great-grandchildren, Ashlyn, Erin and Kalyn Kelbly, West and Justin Allen, Emma Bates, Morgan and Jacob Kelbly, Jakob and Caleb McAlister, Joshua, Benjamin and Daniel Kelly, Kristin and Andrew Singer, Courtney, Matthew, Jennifer and Morgan Adamez, Jack Burley, Melissa and Bradley Pittman, Patrick, Margaret and Christopher Powell and Andrew, Katie and Sarah Kaler.

Gussie was looking forward to welcoming her 29th great-granddaughter to her family tree in September of 2007.

Gussie, Mimi to her family, lived in her home with dignity and amazing independence until the week before the Lord called her home. In every conversation with her family, she always inserted the observation, “We have been truly blessed by the Lord.” We rejoice in her life and are thankful that she is now among that “great cloud of heavenly witnesses” watching and encouraging us here until we are reunited again.

[Published in the Bryan-College Station Eagle]


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