billie louise (shelton) smitherman

Billie Smitherman passed peacefully from this life to heaven on February 20, 2018. She was 79 years old and resided in her own home in New Braunfels, Texas. Billie joins the love of her life, C.C. Smitherman, who preceded her in death by 5 ½ years, and with whom she was married for 56 years.

Billie was born in Athens, Texas, on March 11, 1938, but spent her formative years in Rockdale, Texas, where she was a cheerleader, actress, and top student. Her parents were Matelyn (Mag) and Bill Shelton. At birth, she joined older sister June; later brother Thomas Eddy and sister Nicki came along. While Mag raised the kids, Bill was a shift working coal miner for Texas Utilities; it was the best job he ever had. The family regularly attended Sunday morning and Wednesday night worship services.

While a senior in high school, Billie met C.C. at a local dance; it was love at first sight. They were married on March 27, 1956, and thus began a lifelong journey that often took her to glamorous destinations. However, most of their time was spent in Highlands, Texas, east of Houston.

Billie was first and foremost a great mom to Barry and Leslie. PTA Chair, Den mother, Miss Highlands Pageant organizer, homeroom mom; you name the volunteer role and she fulfilled it. Her home was always a place where her kids' friends felt welcome, safe, and fed. At times a demanding taskmaster, she didn't accept excuses for poor grades or missed curfews. This never stopped her from being her children's greatest fan.

As the kids grew up, Billie became a constant companion for her husband in his roles as Port of Houston Commissioner and Vice President of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. She raised money for the Port's International Seaman's Center and for local 'Go Texan' events. She also worked, first for Harris County Commissioner Jim Fonteno and later for Commissioner El Franco Lee, as a senior citizens coordinator. Eventually she became a successful retailer in Highlands, and in 1990 ran for Justice of the Peace. At one point, she and C.C. owned the beautiful "Divide" ranch in Medina, Texas; it was one of her favorite places. Eventually they retired in New Braunfels, to relax and be closer to kids and grandkids.

Billie is remembered for her sharp mind, youthful beauty, and gracious hospitality toward all, including Congressmen, Judges, and even Governors. She could, as Kipling would say, "walk with kings and not lose the common touch."

Billie is survived by children Barry Smitherman and wife Marijane, Leslie Rutherford and husband Jeff. Grandchildren Jake Rutherford and wife Natalie, Colton Rutherford, Shelton Smitherman, Wyatt Smitherman, Owen Smitherman, and Louisa Smitherman. Great-grandchildren Everett Rutherford and August Rutherford. Sister Nicki Hirt and husband Jim. Her parents, husband, brother, and older sister predeceased her.

Viewing services will be held at Forest Park Lawndale Funeral Home, 6900 Lawndale, Houston, Texas, 77023, from 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday, February 25, 2018. Funeral services will be at Zoeller Funeral Home, 615 Landa St., New Braunfels, Texas, 78130, at 1:30 p.m., Monday, February 26, 2018. Burial services to follow at Hill Country Memorial Gardens, 11700 W. State Highway 46, New Braunfels, Texas, 78132.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to, one of Billie's favorite charities.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 23, 2018