In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Dixie Marilyn Smith, 88

Dixie Marilyn Smith, 1932-2020

Dixie Marilyn Smith, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among American Affinity Peoples in Uruguay, died Sept. 10, 2020, at her daughter’s home. She was 88.

Smith was born on Jan. 4, 1932, to the late Ocela and John P. Sills in Crowville, Louisiana.

Smith received the Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana College, Pineville, in 1953. A few days later, she married Murray C. Smith of Tioga, Louisiana, whom she had met two years earlier at a state Baptist student convention. They were married on Friday night and started a Vacation Bible School on the following Monday in Mayhill, New Mexico, as summer missionaries with the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board).

They moved to New Orleans, for Murray to attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She taught one semester at the West Wego Grade School in New Orleans, and then worked in the seminary library, learning how to catalog books and studying at the seminary.

In 1960, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed the Smiths as missionaries to Uruguay, South America. She was appointed as a church and home worker and he to theological education. She and her husband had three small children when they arrived in Uruguay.

Immediately she began work with the local and national Woman’s Missionary Union in Uruguay. According to her family, she helped rejuvenate both, most of the time as treasurer at local and national levels. She also prepared menus and directed kitchen staff in preparing many meals at the national Baptist convention’s camp. When Murray became director of the Uruguay Baptist seminary, she prepared menus and directed the kitchen staff. She also worked in the seminary library, cataloguing books and teaching the students how to do it.

After 29 years of service, the Smiths retired to Alexandria. Smith was living in Montgomery, Texas, at the time of her death.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Murray C. Smith; daughters, Janet Elise Donoher and Cheryl Denise Rocha; sons, Dr. Jeffrey Henderson Smith and Master Keith Maurice Smith; six grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Sept. 17, 2020, in the chapel at Hixson Brothers Funeral Home, Alexandria, La., with burial following in Tioga Cemetery.

Read an obituary here.