My mother, Vera Griffin (1915-1994) was a kind and
loving person. She was an artist in West Texas. She
started painting in 1963,working with oils and
pastels, specializing in portraits and bluebonnet
scenes. She taught art classes in Littlefield, Texas
for many years. Several students came week after week
paying a nominal fee to paint with her all day. She
developed heart trouble and the last ten years of her
life were dominated by angina pain, but she continued
to paint and to teach. She also enjoyed making doll
clothes. She could do this while sitting in her chair
when she wasn't able to do much physically.
She and my dad, Jay Griffin (1909-1994), who was a
farmer, were married for 60 years and died 18 days
You can also read her
life story, "Reminiscings"
Jettie Smith (1900-1996) was of one of the pioneer
families in the Roscoe area, west of Abilene, Texas.
She was the mother of my late husband, Hollis. Her
story is told in her eulogy. She was a good and
generous person, and was always helpful and supportive.
She spent the last six years of her life at the
Christian Care Center in Mesquite.
Jettie Elizabeth Hoskinson was born
December 24, 1900 to M.L. Hoskinson and his wife,
Lucy. Her early years were spent in Blue, Oklahoma
after her father had participated in the "run" for
land in that area. After the trees burned on his
property, dashing his plans for selling timber, he
opened a general merchandise store. In 1906 he moved
his family to Sweetwater, Texas. She attended school
in Sweetwater, and after they bought a farm north of
Roscoe, she attended a one room school in Fisher
county. In addition to learning the basics of
reading, writing and arithmetic, she told of how
they learned folk dancing, and how she enjoyed it.
She helped her dad work in the field. She had older
sisters who helped out with the housework and the
cooking. In 1918 when her father bought a Model T
Ford, he asked the dealer to teach Jettie how to
drive the car.
There were many children in the family, but those
who grew to adulthood were Jettie, Roxie, Tennie,
Bessie, Althea, Lillie, Bill and Allen. Roxie Soules
is the only surviving sibling.
She met Vernon Smith and they were married on
January 17, 1921. In December of that year, Mary Lea
was born. About 5 years later they bought the
Bozeman farm and Max was born in 1927. After they
sold that farm, they moved to Roscoe and Hollis was
born in Roscoe in 1932. They moved to the farm north
of Roscoe on Cottonwood Creek in 1945.
They were members of the Roscoe Church of Christ. She
loved the Lord and her life was spent serving Him by
She was a hard worker, always busy; working in the
field, working in the home, cooking, sewing, mending,
and helping those less fortunate. She was always
helping people. She cared for her mother when she
needed care, and then when Papa Smith needed nursing
care, they took him into their home and she lovingly
cared for him until he passed away.
She not only helped family members, she also helped
others outside the family. The Jobe sisters could
count on her to help them can vegetables from their
garden. She also found other ways to help them.
Mr. and Mrs. Matustek depended on them for help,
and they showed kindness to Will and Mary Howe.
She tried her hand at different enterprises. She
sold vacuum cleaners and cosmetics. She would tell
of making sequined pins and selling them. For a
while she worked in the cafeteria at the school
helping to prepare the meals. She gave special
attention to her young granddaughter who was a student
there. She tooled leather and made belts and leather
purses and notebooks. At one time she was even a
Jettie and Vernon were good parents. They sacrificed
for their children and grandchildren, and helped them
in every way they knew to help.
She could entertain the grandchildren in a special
way that made them want to be with her. She would
play games with them. They recall how she would take
them on a "Magic Carpet" ride, and how she taught
them to play cards.
During the summers, they would put a bed outside and
sleep out under the stars at night.
She was an avid gardener and grew many lovely flowers
in her yard. She would conscientiously water and
weed so that the yard always looked well cared for.
The perennials that she grew are now growing in
flower gardens across the state because she always
wanted to share. When she was 80 years old, she
dug up a lantana bush from her yard. It is now
growing in her daughter-in-law's yard.
She could prepare a nice meal, feed all the relatives
that came, and "make do" with just a little. It was
always surprising how many people she could squeeze
around the table.
In 1973, Vernon retired from farming and they bought
a home on Cedar Street in Sweetwater. Jettie became
active in community work. In 1975 she helped
Thelma Newman, who was the state AARP director, to
organize an AARP chapter for retired persons in
Nolan County. Two years later she was instrumental
in organizing the S.N.A.P. program for senior
citizens which provided a nutritious lunch and
activities five days each week.
She was interested in genealogy and researching the
family history. With her help, her daughter and
granddaughters became members of the Daughters of
the American Revolution.
Jettie and Vernon were grieved by the untimely death
of their son Hollis in 1982 at age 50. Vernon died a
few months later on March 1, 1983, and Jettie was
left alone. When she could no longer stay by herself,
she went to live with Max and Carol. After that she
moved to a nursing home in Abilene, and then to the
Christian Care Center in Mesquite in 1990.
Also included in her eulogy was a copy of
Proverbs 31, a description of the worthy woman.
Jettie Smith died in December, 1996 one week before
her 96th birthday. She was preceded in death by her
son Hollis Vernon Smith and her husband Vernon Smith.
Her family at the time of her death included:
Sister: Roxie Soules
Children: Max Kenneth Smith and wife Carol,
Mary Lea Nichols, Former daughter-in-law Patsy
Grandchildren: Ken Smith, Nita Robbins, Shirley
Blake, Doris Stubblefield, Elton Smith, and Karen
Great Grandchildren: Melanie Smith, Max, Christopher,
and Michelle Robbins, Michael and Charles Blake,
Leann Cox, Todd Stubblefield, Eric, Veronica, Hollis,
and Nathaniel Smith, Brooks and Stephanie Arnold,
and Haley Wilson
Great-great-grandchildren: Tilden and Logan Cox
Jettie and Vernon Smith were married for 62 years.
The righteous will flourish in the courts of our
God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will
stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The Lord is
upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness
in him.'" Psalm 92:12-15