The celebration of Doris Thelma Smith Townsel’s life and legacy will be at Morning Star Baptist Church, located at 5340 Jewella Avenue in Shreveport, from 6 until 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, with Pastor Theron Jackson officiating.
Doris Townsel made her transition from earth to paradise on Dec. 31, 2016, after an unexpected terminal illness diagnosis in September 2016. She was given the gift of life on Dec. 26, 1930 and was the first born child to her parents, the Rev. Arthur Smith and Beullah Bradford Smith Burnam, both deceased.
Originally a native of Belcher, Doris Townsel relocated to Shreveport as a young child to live with her uncle, Elijah B. Holloman, aunt, Haggai Smith Holloman and their daughter, Letha Baker, all deceased. This move led to her childhood education in the Caddo Parish school system, where she graduated with top honors from Central Colored High School.
Although education was important to the loved ones that raised her, their desire for her to know the Lord was far greater, so she accepted Christ at an early age and learned more about the Father, Son and Holy Ghost at Williams Memorial Christian Episcopal Church on Peabody Street in Shreveport.
She was dedicated to this church until she began her journey of higher education at Los Angeles CA College, Southern University in Baton Rouge, Grambling State University and LSU in Baton Rouge, where she graduated from all aforementioned institutions of secondary education with honors of excellence and the status of magna cum laude.
Having obtained multiple degrees (associates, bachelor’s, masters in education plus 30 and an honorary doctorate) as well as numerous certificates and diplomas in the field of religion, music, oratory, intensive secretarial applications and business administration, Doris Townsel found great pleasure in educating and enlightening the minds of students in both the Webster and Bossier Parish school systems, the church’s vacation Bible school, Sunday school, Bible education class (Bible study) and music ministries.
She demanded that all students, no matter the age, race or religious preference, become productive citizens by rising above all circumstances. She equipped them with the physical and mental tools needed to be the best they could be in all areas of study (religious, business, music and history to name a few) and always reminded them of the Scripture, Philippians 4:11, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
While pursuing her education, a young man from Arkansas inquired about being her “steady beau,” and the love of a lifetime between “The Reverend and his Mookie” began.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, the Rev. Charlie Lee Townsel (deceased), and “Mrs. T,” as she was so affectionately called, pledged their love in holy matrimony on May 28, 1954. Having been raised in the Methodist faith and now being married to a Baptist minister, who was then the pastor of Mt. Calm Baptist Church in Minden, Sister Townsel, being led by the Holy Spirit, decided to be baptized by her husband and embraced the Baptist faith wholeheartedly on June 1, 1958. For her, this was not a conflict but rather another opportunity for God to use her in the service of mankind. She also worked faithfully in the ministry with her husband at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Belcher, Morning Star Baptist Church in Shreveport, New Light Baptist Church in Minden and Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Orange, Texas, until Pastor Townsel’s spiritual transition on Dec. 2, 1988.
Although their physical journey together ended, her walk with the Lord did not, because she lived according to Joshua 24:15, “…As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
In 1990, she united with Sunrise Baptist Church in Shreveport under Pastor W.L. Stewart (deceased), then later reunited with Morning Star Baptist Church under Pastor Dr. M.L. Hunt Sr. (deceased), and remained under Pastor Theron Jackson until her sweet eternal rest.
She supported many ministries abroad and at home, including but not limited to Olive Grove Missionary Baptist Church under Pastor S. Charles Gardner Sr., Lone Star Baptist Church under Pastor Calvin Kimble, Zion Baptist Church under Pastor Dr. Brady Blade Sr., Mt. Canaan Baptist Church under Pastor Dr. Harry Blake, Peaceful Rest Baptist Church under Pastor Dr. R. Timothy Jones Sr., Fellowship Church of God in Christ under Superintendent Artis Williams, Olive Grove Missionary Baptist Church under Pastor S. Charles Gardner Sr., and Adoration Gospel Ministries under the Townsels.
God blessed Lady “T” with a multitude of talents, through the words of her poetry, her anointed public speaking and spirit-filled musical directions, she worked zealously to share the goodness of the Lord with everyone she met, always telling them to live according to James 1:22-25.
This very articulate, highly educated, powerful woman, who was an ordained spiritual counselor, dedicated community leader, advocate for public education, activist for desegregation and civil rights, member and officer in numerous religious, civic and educational organizations, was amazing in so many ways, her life resounded loudly, but she believed in doing things “decent and in order.
Therefore, she always maintained a low profile and remained low-keyed, while reaching out to those less fortunate. She made sure everyone knew that in God’s eyesight, all lives matter.
After her mission was complete, she would say, “If anybody asks you who I am, tell them I am a child of God,” and “Remember only what you do for Christ will last.”
As we reflect upon this phenomenal woman, we remember her loved ones who are already at rest, one spouse, her biological and Godparents, grandparents, one child, four grandchildren, two brothers, one sister and one Godsister, as well as a host of other relatives and friends.
Doris T. Smith Townsel and the Rev. Dr. C.L. Townsel have both finished their earthly assignment, but their legacy of love will continue on.
The loved ones they shared their life with include six children, Sarah Lee, Neverlyn, Charlisa, Granville (Mia), William Charles (DeAnna) and Dorothea; five brothers, Clifford Smith (Clara), Earvin Burnom (Maelene), Ecclee Burnom (Lori), Walter Burnom Sr. (Barbara), and Joe Coulter (Neomi), three sisters, Janice Bradford Henderson (Robert), Tecora Smith Gatlin (Raymond), Lois Johnson, one brother-in-law, Timothy Townsel (Dean), one sister-in-law, Lois Townsel, 27 grandchildren, 52 great-grandchildren and six great great-grandchildren, along with a host of additional family, God families and friends will love, honor and cherish them always.
Flowers and cards may be sent to Winnfield Funeral Home, located at 3701 Hollywood Avenue, Shreveport, LA 71109, or the Townsel’s residence at 4311 Waters Place, Shreveport, LA 71109.