Joy Anthony Smitherman

Joy Anthony Smitherman died peacefully April 10, 2023, in Houston, TX

A service and Celebration of her life will be held Friday, April 14, at 11:00 am at Clear Lake United Methodist Church with a reception to follow at Bay Oaks Country Club.  Graveside service and burial will be Saturday, April 15, 12:15 pm, at Forest Park Cemetery in Shreveport, LA. To honor Joy, the family hopes that those attending will wear bright, beautiful colors.

Joy was born February 7, 1931, in El Dorado, Arkansas. She attended Louisiana Tech where she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega and met Charles. Charles proposed at Shreveport’s Strand Theater when she found her ring in their box of popcorn. They married in El Dorado in 1950 and began their married life in Quantico, VA, before heading to Honolulu where Charles would be stationed as a US Marine.

Throughout their married life they lived in 9 states until “in 1987, we came to Houston Heaven”. Joy always worked and volunteered with tireless energy. She served as an ESOL teacher, Church volunteer, Tutor, Clear Lake Alumni Panhellenic Association, Bay Area Museum Guild (33 years)/President/Director, Bay Area Houston Symphony League, many positions with Lunar Rendezvous, Grand Opera House Board, Bay Area Ballet and Theater benefactor, Bay Oaks Country Club and Women’s Association, and anywhere she saw a need. She loved cooking, gardening, playing bridge, reading, playing the flute (South Arkansas Symphony), and keeping up with friends on Facebook. Most of all she loved people.

Joy was honored in 1999 as one of the Men and Women of Heart. Mayor Brown proclaimed May 4, 1999, as “Joy Smitherman Day” in Houston recognizing her “many and outstanding contributions to the Bay Area Museum”. She was chosen as one of the Grand Dames of Clear Lake who creatively and artistically impacted the Bay Area and was honored at The Arts Alliance of Clear Lake Gala in 2008. Joy strongly believed in helping others and making her community and our world a better place.

Her parents, Jewel Bond and Arty Loyce Anthony, her sister, Mary Lou Welch (Les), son-in-law, Charlie Morris, and numerous relatives and friends preceded her in death.

Joy is survived by her devoted husband of 72 years, Charles; their children Valerie Riddle (Paul), Carol Smitherman Anglin, and John Smitherman (Jill).  They have 8 wonderful grandchildren: Halina Hickerson (Dave), Melody Clifford (Jared, and children Lincoln,Johanna), Dr. Emily Smitherman, Hannah Gresham (Lee), Jacob Smitherman (Kelsey), John Anthony Anglin (Susan and daughter, Edith), Alexander Anglin (Annika), Bailey Anglin;  a nephew, Randy Welch (Julia), and great niece, Elizabeth Jones (Kenny), several cousins and many, many friends.

Joy was in the first new member class of the Assistance League of the Bay Area and an active member for 33 years. She loved this work and received several leadership and service awards. She continued to volunteer at the Resale Shop as long as she was able. Memorials may be made “In Memory of Joy” to Assistance League of the Bay Area, PO Box 591131, Houston, TX 77259-1131 or by visiting their website.


  1. Words will never describe how much JOY meant to me over our long 30 year friendship!!! She was a very strong, kind & thoughtful person. Our community, her friends and especially her family will miss her so much along with her sweet dog Annie. I look forward to celebrating her life this Friday because she had a GREAT one!!! Prayers for everyone who is suffering. Joy is another angel in heaven watching over us.
    Love, Betsy

    Betsy Salbilla
  2. Dear Smitherman family. I met Joy in 2011 when I joined Assistance League of Bay Area. Being from Louisiana we had an instant connection.
    I have never met a kinder soul.
    I loved her famous pimento cheese sandwiches that she would bring & share on work day at the shop.
    She has definately left a mark on my heart!
    Kathleen Courville

    Kathleen Courville
  3. She was truly the Grande Dames!! I was blessed to be her hairdresser for 25 years plus! We have shared laughs,tears and pure joy when she talked about her family. I am truly honored to have known her !!! Love you Joy!

    Helene Pangilinan
  4. Jill, Hannah, and Family…
    What a beautiful privilege it was to know Joy! She was indeed one of Clear Lakes finest! Kathryn and I especially enjoyed and appreciated all she brought to any undertaking…especially as we came to know her in Assistance League! She truly will always standout as one of the finest Grand Dames of the South! She lived southern hospitality with immense dedication.
    Joy embodied southern values: Devotion to family( deep family ties),Humility(she was present…to BE rather than to seem),Courtesy(mannerly),Restraint(Self-discipline& dedication to a higher goal), Respect towards womanhood(praising and uplifting),Integrity(encompassing all of her virtues; one would see and know the goodness of her honest words)Benevolence/Community Involvement( you get what you give rang true for her…one who improves the community improves themselves)
    Joy took hold of this and strived to integrate these values into her life . Hence an honorable life that is a natural result and we and our community improved and benefitted! Knowingly or unknowingly,Joy Anthony Smitherman has left us with her wonderful legacy to carry on! I, as many will miss her and the impact she has had on so many lives! She is to be celebrated! ( and I will miss those wonderful red glasses!!😘
    Diane Stuart and Kathryn Stuart White

    Diane Stuart
  5. Please accept my deepest condolences. I have enjoyed seeing all of the positive things that Joy posted on social media over the years. I know that she will be missed by both friends and family alike.

    John R. Smitherman (the other cousin John)

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