Lewis, Jo Ann Smith Born November 4, 1930 in Austin, TX to J. Guy Smith and Heritage Sprouse Smith, departed this earth to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on March 17, 2014. While growing up Jo Ann's family lived in Austin, El Paso, Harlingen, Waco and Tyler, Texas. She graduated from John Tyler High School in 1948 and then attended Tyler Junior College where she was a member of the original Apache Bells. While attending Tyler Commercial College she worked part-time at the movie theater's candy counter. It was there that she met a young movie usher who also attended Tyler Commercial College, Boyce Ray Lewis, who became her husband of 48 years. They were married at her parent's home in Tyler, Texas on February 23, 1951 and later moved to Dallas in 1957. Jo Ann and Boyce raised four daughters while faithfully serving in many capacities at Pleasant Wood Baptist Church. She became a widow in 1999 and in 2004 moved to Ben Wheeler and became a member of Lakeside Baptist Church in Canton, Texas. Jo Ann was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and encouraged her children and grandchildren to be creative, to be at their best and most importantly to trust in Jesus Christ. At age 24 Jo Ann was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa, which led to progressive eyesight loss resulting in total blindness in her 60's. She faced this challenge with grace and courage, amazing others with her independence, strength and faith. She continued to serve others through phone ministries to the homebound and by faithfully serving others through intercessory prayer. Her courage and servant heart were evident when in 2008 she joined a research project and received one of the first bionic eyes. Her part in this research was documented in the January 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine and video. She was passionate about contributing to the effective treatment of RP. Her participation resulted in discoveries for improving the bionic product. She was also passionate about ministering to others and to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. She was particularly supportive of ministries focused on single mothers and to the mission organization Every Tribe Missions founded by her grandson Sean and his wife Chloe in South Africa. Jo Ann is survived by her brother, Jim Smith and his, wife Glenda along with her four daughters, Sheila Hartley and husband, Randy, Sharon Williams and husband, Hal, Sherri Jefferson and husband, Larry, and Shirl Worm. She is also survived by grandchildren, Hollie Leatherwood and husband, Kody, Stephen Waldrep, Sean Seise and wife, Chloe, Aubrey Redmon and Micah Worm. She was also blessed with six great-grandchildren. The family will receive friends and family on Thursday, March 20, 2014 from 6-8 pm in the Memorial Chapel of Restland funeral home (13025 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, 75218). The service to celebrate her life and home-coming will be held on Friday, March 21 at 11:00 am at Restland's Memorial Chapel. Burial is to follow at Restland. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Every Tribe Missions, 1770 San Marco Road, Suite 201, Marco Island, Florida 34145 or to Hope Pregnancy Center, P.O. Box 742, Canton, Texas 75103, phone 903-567-6000.
Restland Funeral Home
13005 Greenville Avenue Dallas, TX 75243
Published in Dallas Morning News on Mar. 19, 2014