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Bessie Mae Smith Suggs

Written by Cole Williams on . Posted in Obituaries

February 4, 1927-March 11, 2013. Mrs. Suggs was born in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana on February 4, 1927.

She passed away on Monday, March 11, 2013. She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 63 years, Royal Joy Suggs; her parents, Thomas Eldred Smith and Leona Cobb Smith; and eight siblings; Berton Smith, Ray Smith, and Ronald Smith, of Port Allen; Leo Smith and Gene Smith of Shreveport, Loretta Price and Alvin Smith of Coushatta, and Marjorie Breland of Longview, TX. She was also preceded in death by two beloved grandsons, Jeffrey Michael Suggs and Benjamin Jacob Suggs. She is survived by two sisters, Eloise Smith Breedlove of Hall Summit, La, and Geraldine Smith of Port Allen; four sons and daughters-in-law, Jeffrey Lynn Suggs and wife Dianne of Austin, Texas; Stanley Eldred Suggs and wife Martha of Denham Springs; Calvin Steven Suggs and wife Jean of Clinton; and Barry David Suggs and wife Karen of Port Allen. Mrs. Suggs is also survived by six grandchildren, Jonathan Suggs of Austin Texas, Anne Suggs Harper and her husband Matt of Orlando, Florida, Jeremy Suggs and his wife Aimeé of Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Bradley Suggs and his wife Dr. Jeanann Lovell Suggs of Brandon, Mississippi, Stacey Suggs Olano and her husband Justin of Port Allen, and Cody Suggs and his wife Kayla of Port Allen. Mrs. Suggs is also survived by seven great grandchildren and sisters-in-law, Derita Register Smith of Tyler, Texas and Ima Jean Smith of Shreveport, La.; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families. Mrs. Suggs lived her entire adult life as a resident of Port Allen, almost all of that time at her home on Rosedale Road. She attended most of her school years in Red River Parish but graduated from Port Allen High School in 1944 as valedictorian of her class. She attended classes at LSU and at various times worked at the Baton Rouge Standard Oil Refinery, as an elementary school teacher, and at Cinclare sugar mill. She was a long time member of First Baptist Church of Port Allen and in her younger years was very active in the church. Mrs. Suggs served as a founding board member and the first Secretary/Treasurer of the West Baton Rouge Parish Water Board. She was instrumental in getting water distribution facilities installed in the northern and western parts of the parish. She assisted her husband Royal in the operation of the small farm they owned. Her primary occupation was that of wife, homemaker, mother, and grandmother. Mrs. Suggs enjoyed vegetable and flower gardening, reading, gospel music, ceramics, and antique furniture. She looked forward to her azaleas and songbirds each spring. She enjoyed cooking for and visiting with each member of her large group of family and friends. Mrs. Suggs was close friends to many over the course of her life. She loved and enjoyed people from all walks of life. She always had a fresh pot of coffee and a warm smile and words of encouragement and often shared a hearty laugh with all who came by. She prepared food in large quantities and usually had food on the stove or in the oven. Most everyone who came by was encouraged to "make themselves a plate." All who have eaten her cornbread would agree that it was the best they ever tasted. Mrs. Suggs passed on her love of music to her sons and she enjoyed listening to them sing and play guitar. She was a close observer of the political scene and enjoyed many discussions about politics. Like most of us she was an avid fan of the LSU Tigers and the Saints. She was a great fan of Elvis. She could reference the Bible on many subjects and recite many passages from memory. She was a country girl at heart who in her younger days often milked a cow and knew how to dress a chicken. Mrs. Suggs lived a memorable and meaningful life, full of joy, determination, and positive energy. As the composer of the old hymn wrote, she indeed "…served the Lord with gladness, in her works and ways." She helped and encouraged many along life's path. She will long be remembered and honored by family and friends for her love, her wisdom, her kindness, and her sense of humor. Blessings from God through her life will surely be passed on for many generations. Pallbearers will be Jonathan, Jeremy, Cody and Brad Suggs, Matt Harper and Justin Olano. The family gratefully acknowledges her sister Geraldine Smith for caring for Mrs. Suggs for many months and the staff of Hospice of Baton Rouge in the Butterfly Wing at Baton Rouge General Mid-City for their loving care during her final days with us. Visitation was from 5pm to 9pm at Wilbert Funeral Home in Port Allen, La on Thursday, March 14, 2013. Service to begin at 7pm. Burial was at Mount Zion Cemetery near Hall Summit, La on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 2pm. 

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